Quick Links

2nd time has been charm for Moore

798560.png

2nd time has been charm for Moore

Just about every ballplayer, upon getting promoted to make his big-league debut, tries to insist the game is no different at this higher level of competition than it was at every previous level.

It's not always as easy as it sounds, though, as Tyler Moore found out last month when he first joined the Nationals.

"Yeah, exactly. It is the same game, but also there's a lot of stuff that comes with that game, too," Moore said. "There's a lot more fans. The stadiums are bigger. It makes your adrenaline get up a little more. You just have to learn how to calm yourself down and realize it is a game, and I play the best when I'm calm."

These days, Moore is feeling plenty calm with his surroundings. After struggling during his first big-league stint, he has returned and reasserted himself as a potent offensive player.

After hitting .158 (3-for-19) with seven strikeouts in his first 12 games -- which prompted a demotion to Class AAA Syracuse -- Moore is hitting .471 (8-for-17) with only two strikeouts in six games since rejoining the big-league roster.

"It was of course disappointing to be optioned to Syracuse but at the same time they had to make a move," he said. "I just went down to the minor leagues and got some at-bats and got some repetition back. And then I came back up here and I've had a lot more at-bats than my previous time up here. That helped me a lot, getting more at-bats and seeing more pitches to get back in a rhythm."

Moore has indeed found himself in Davey Johnson's lineup more regularly this time around. He's become a mainstay presence against left-handed starters, either in left field or at first base (where he's playing tonight against Rays lefty Matt Moore).

Johnson sees a different player during this stint, one who appears more comfortable with his surroundings and who has learned how to adapt to more sporadic playing time.

"Just getting over probably a little bit of nervousness," Johnson said. "It's very difficult for a young player who's used to playing every day to get into a rhythm where you feel real confident about seeing the ball and the strike zone. ... In the big leagues, you sometimes try to take the same approach as if you were playing every day."

Another difference has been Moore's approach at the plate; he's not falling behind in the count as much and being forced into using defensive swings (which may in part explain the drop in his strikeout rate).

"I think he came back feeling like he needed to be a little more aggressive," Johnson said of Moore, who crushed 71 home runs over his last 1,121 minor-league at-bats. "He has a great stroke. I love his stroke. He's short to the ball, uses the whole field. He's quiet up there. Once you have some results, it just locks you into that same approach."

Quick Links

Ivan Rodriguez becomes first former Nationals player to be voted into Hall of Fame

Ivan Rodriguez becomes first former Nationals player to be voted into Hall of Fame

Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez became the first former Nationals player (2005-present) to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on Wednesday. He was inducted in his first year of eligibility, marking the 52nd first-ballot hall of famer in history. 

Rodriguez, who was the first free agent signed by current Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo, played the final two seasons of his career with Washington in 2010-11. During his time in D.C. he hit .254 six homers and 68 RBI. Pudge's greatest contribution to the Nationals came from his leadership and work ethic. He guided Stephen Strasburg through his rookie season and also helped develop Wilson Ramos so he could pass the torch to him. 

During his 21-year career, Pudge made 14 all-star teams, won 13 gold gloves, won seven silver slugger awards, led his league in caught-steeling percentage nine times, and was named American League MVP in 1999 with the Texas Rangers. He became a World Series champion in 2003 with the Florida Marlins. Pudge's 13 gold gloves are the most ever by a catcher, and his 2,844 career hits are the most ever by a player who appeared in 50 percent or more of their career games as a catcher.  

In addition to Rodriguez, former Montreal Expos great Tim Raines was inducted to the Hall of Fame. Raines is the franchise leader (Expos/Nationals) in walks (793), runs (947), stolen bases (635) and triples (82). Raines was an all-star seven times and he won a silver slugger in 1986 with the Expos. He is the only player in MLB history with at least 100 triples, 150 homers and 600 RBI in a career, and the only player to steal at least 70 bases in six consecutive seasons. 

Related: Bryce Harper wants Nationals to spend money on players, not team store

Quick Links

Bryce Harper wants Nationals to invest in Matt Wieters, Greg Holland more than facilities

Bryce Harper wants Nationals to invest in Matt Wieters, Greg Holland more than facilities

Bryce Harper isn't one to keep his opinions to himself. The Nationals slugger is outspoken about what he wants, whether that's to "Make Baseball Fun Again" or to make at least $400 million on his next contract

On Wednesday, he gave his take on how the Nats should be investing their money this summer. Here's Harper responding to a tweet from ESPN's Jim Bowden.

Harper's message: Players over everything else. Sorry, gift shop. 

It's plain to see where the 2015 NL MVP is going with this. Obviously, he wants as much talent around him as possible for a chance to win the World Series. 

Matt Wieters, a four-time All-Star catcher, and Greg Holland, a two-time All-Star closer, could be significant additions to Washington's roster. 

Harper is set to become a free agent in 2018, at which point an organization like the New York Yankees will be prepared to offer him both a massive salary and a massive investment in the players around him.

The slugger probably hopes his current team will try to surround him with winning pieces in an effort to keep him. But if a report about the Nationals' reaction to his contract demands proves accurate, they may have another agenda. 

There's Harper drama around the Nationals? Just a regular Wednesday here in Washington.

MORE NATIONALS: Nationals avoid arbitration with Harper, three others