After a brief tenure with the Detroit Tigers, former top prospect Matt Moore is heading to Japan to try to resurrect his career.
Prior to the 2012 season, Matt Moore was considered the top pitching prospect in the game, and was right there with Mike Trout and Bryce Harper in the conversation for the best overall minor leaguer. However, a torn UCL in 2014 derailed his career, as he was never quite the same afterwards.
However, he appeared to have turned a corner in 2019. Signed by the Detroit Tigers for $2.5 million, Moore was putting together a solid beginning to the season before he was once again felled by injury, missing most of the year due to knee surgery.
Once again, Moore is needing to resurrect his career. This time, instead of taking a make good deal in the majors, he is heading to Japan. He has signed with the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks on a one year deal worth $3.5 million, with a chance to earn another $2.5 million in incentives.
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Amazingly, Moore had the most valuable season of his career since 2013 last year. Despite pitching just ten innings, he posted a 0.7 bWAR, tied with 2016 for his best performance since his injury woes began. He allowed just three hits and a walk in those ten innings, striking out nine.
Even more impressively, Moore had finally showed the velocity he had prior to tearing his UCL. Given that flicker of success, and the uptick in velocity, it would not have been a surprise if Moore received another one year deal at the major league level. Instead, he will move on to Japan, looking to build off of those promising ten innings.
Chances are, Moore has two tasks in order to gain major league interest for the following season. If he can prove that his velocity is back over a full season, and he can stay healthy, teams could come calling. He would turn 32 years old in the midst of the 2021 season, making him a relatively young option for interested teams.
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Matt Moore had ten solid innings for the Detroit Tigers in 2019. He will look to build off of that abbreviated showing in Japan, as he signed with the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks.