LAKELAND, Fla. -- As part of MLBPipeline.com's visit to all 30 Spring Training facilities this month, we will be sitting down with prospects and getting to know them a little better. At Tigers camp, it was No. 10 prospect Steven Moya. Moya had a breakout season in 2014, as the 6-foot-7
LAKELAND, Fla. -- As part of MLBPipeline.com's visit to all 30 Spring Training facilities this month, we will be sitting down with prospects and getting to know them a little better. At Tigers camp, it was No. 10 prospect Steven Moya.
Moya had a breakout season in 2014, as the 6-foot-7 outfielder hit 35 homers and drove in 105 runs in Double-A, which led to his big league debut. He struggled in 2015 with the move to Triple-A, though he finished decently and turned in a strong Dominican Winter League performance. He got off to a very good start in Spring Training action as well.
MLBPipeline.com: Tell me about your background. You were born in Puerto Rico. How old were you when you moved to the Dominican Republic?
Moya: I was two months old when my mom took me to the Dominican. My whole life, I grew up there. I studied there. My whole family is there because my parents are both Dominican. I consider myself Dominican, but I would say thanks to Puerto Rico for letting me be born there, and the doctors and everybody who took care of me when I was a baby.
MLBPipeline.com: There aren't a lot of guys your size who play baseball. Are there people you watched, or watch now, to see how they do it?
Moya: Growing up, I didn't watch a lot of baseball, so I didn't know about people my size playing. Richie Sexson? He was like 6-foot-6. But I never looked at videos of him. I look at videos of lefties the majority of the time. Barry Bonds is one I like to watch. I never really looked up guys my size to see how they hit.
MLB Pipeline Spring Training reports
MLBPipeline.com: When you were in the Arizona Fall League, you were there at the same time as the Yankees' Aaron Judge, who is 6-foot-7. Did you get to talk at all about being bigger guys, playing right field, maybe dealing with some of the same things regarding your size making it more challenging for you at the plate?
Moya: Until that Fall League, I knew that he existed, but I didn't know him. In the AFL, I'd say, "Hi, you're so big." And he'd say, "No, you're big." We'd joke around, but we never got the chance to sit down and talk. But he's a huge guy.
MLBPipeline.com: In 2014, a lot of things went well for you, then last year, you struggled. What did you learn from those struggles in terms of what you needed to do to find a level of consistency?
Moya: I just had to go back to the things I was doing, trying to remember and replicate the same things I did in 2014. I went the offseason [after 2014] without doing much. I didn't go back to the DR to get my regular workout. It was a lot of time not working on stuff with my hitting, facing living pitching. I struggled at first and I spent Spring Training trying to get my swing back. The whole season I worked on it on and off. Finally, at the end of the season, thank God, I found myself and started doing better. It's just something that happened, but I don't consider 2015 a bad season.
MLBPipeline.com: What's more fun for you? Hitting a home run or throwing a baserunner out?
Moya: Both. Hitting a home run is great. Getting a guy out at whatever base … it's two completely different things. It's hard to say which one I like better … I think home runs.
Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow @JonathanMayo on Twitter.