Prospect: Hutton Moyer - Rank: 20
2015/16: UR Position(s): Utility Infielder
Level: Advanced A Ball Age: Entering Age 24 season in 2017.
Height: 6'1” Weight: 185 lb.
Present - Future
Hitting Ability: 45 - 50
Power: 45 - 50
Base Running: 50 - 50
Patience: 40 - 40
Fielding: 50 - 50
Range: 50 - 59
Arm: 50 - 50
Overall: 45 - 50
Floor: AAA Depth.
Ceiling: Starting second baseman in the major leagues.
Likely Outcome: Offensive-minded utility infielder.
Summary: Moyer had a pretty good year. That's me putting it in the simplest terms possible. To elaborate, Moyer proved a lot of doubters wrong/ He still has a way to go, but the foundation is set for justified future promotions. When Moyer was selected in the 7th round by the Angels out of Pepperdine, I was immediately intrigued, but surprised. For starters, Moyer wasn't that great at Pepperdine. It took until his final year there before we saw any sort of promising tools, that being his power, begin to manifest. So yeah, there was a degree of suspicion that perhaps Moyer was selected as a bit of a hat tip to his father, Jamie Moyer, who spent 23 years pitching in the big leagues.
This notion was only further supported by Moyer's poor showing at Orem last year after being drafted. But a guy I talked to kept saying Moyer has some power, that I'll be surprised. And he was right.
Hutton hit 33 doubles 17 home runs and stole 13 bases between two levels of A Ball this year. As a middle infielder, that's pretty awesome. His .276/.341 batting line isn't too shabby either. What's even more impressive is Moyer's performance in the Cal League. Most of the extra base hits came at home, at Inland Empire, the only pitcher friendly venue in the California League. This only serves as more proof that the power Moyer displayed is real. More accurately, Moyer's pull power is real. When his timing is down and he turns on a pitch, it can fly a very long way.
But speaking of timing, here's where my skepticism creeps right back into the picture. It's Moyer's approach at the plate. There are a ton of moving parts. Pre-pitch, his hands are all over the place. While the pitcher is mid-delivery, we see Hutton's hands drop down to his waste before returning to shoulder height. While this is happening, we see a very high leg kick and then a swing. I'm certainly not opposed to leg kicks, but when you see Moyer's you realize his timing mechanism is about as complicated as the come. In fact, it's likely a big reason why Moyer struck out 143 times in only 124 games! This is something the Angels will need to iron out before Moyer reaches AA and AAA next season, because more advanced pitchers will be better prepared to exploit these timing and contact issues. The trick here will be to keep his timing, while eliminating the movement and still maintaining the power he had before. Not an easy thing to do.
Defensively, Moyer can be seen at second, third and shortstop. At second base, he's a plus fielder, showing the range, arm, footwork and instincts of a truly impressive defensive asset. When he moves over to third base, we see a lot more of an unsteady approach. It seems like Hutton isn't sure of the path the ball is taking or how much time he has to throw it to first base, or what to do with his feet. At shortstop, Moyer is certainly better than he is at third base, but so much of this seems based purely off of Hutton's athleticism and not his actual familiarity with the position. Undoubtedly, Moyer will need to improve at third base if he wants to be a utility infielder in the major leagues, but if his bat continues to produce the way it did last year, then Hutton may not have to worry about it so much. Most of his playing time should come at second base, where he is clearly comfortable.
What to expect next season: Moyer will be on the move to AA Mobile. This is where we separate the prospects you dream on versus the prospects you can actually count on. Success at the AA level is much more transferrable to the major leagues than anything in A ball or Advanced A. It's the biggest jump in the minors. I also expect Hutton to be able to settle in second base, seeing as he'll have more gifted defenders around him to play shortstop and third base. If Moyer cuts down on the stirekoputs and continues to hit for power, I'd be looking at a possible starting second baseman in the majors.
Estimated Time of Arrival: Late 2019, Moyer's age 26 season.
Grade as a prospect: C+: Projects to be a reserve infielder.
Check out our interview with Hutton Moyer conducted over the summer of 2016.Hutton Moyer Interview August 29 2016 from AngelsWin.com on Vimeo.