Before taking flight, Moore reporting to Braves
'Dream come true' for Navy righty who was drafted by hometown club
ATLANTA -- As a distinguished graduate of the United States Naval Academy, Stephen Moore will soon have the opportunity to realize his goal of becoming a pilot. But before doing so, the right-handed pitcher from suburban Atlanta will experience the dream the Braves provided when they selected him in the 10th round of the 2015 MLB Draft.
"It was pretty much a dream come true," Moore said. "Being selected by the hometown team, I don't know if you can top that."
In four seasons at Annapolis, Moore was 14-16 with a 2.90 ERA in 56 appearances over 269 2/3 innings. The 6-foot-2, 200-pound Moore finished his collegiate career with 199 strikeouts and a .238 opponents' batting average.
Moore will report to the Braves' Spring Training complex next week and then spend some time pitching for the organization's Rookie level team in Danville, Va. But at some point within the next two months, the 23-year-old athlete will likely need to begin fulfilling the military requirement that he committed to in exchange for the free education he received at the Naval Academy.
"I'm going to play as long as I'm permitted," Moore said. "My head coach at the Naval Academy is trying to help me out as much as possible as far as working with the big Navy to give me permission to play as long as possible before I have to go report to serve. Right now, I don't know what they will allow me to do."
Moore is scheduled to report to flight school in Pensacola, Fla., on July 31. This will mark the start of the five-year military commitment he made when he opted to return to the Naval Academy for his junior year. Students at U.S. service academies can only avoid this commitment if they don't extend their military education beyond their sophomore year.
Given that he has always aspired to play professional baseball, Moore flirted with the idea of going elsewhere for his final two years of college. But Moore instead determined he would better enrich his future via the discipline and education he received at the Naval Academy.
"Just to be able to serve the country and go to one of the finest institutions of the world was just something I couldn't turn down," Moore said. "I thought about it, but I knew that was the place I needed to be at the time. It was the best decision for me. Now both of my dreams have come true. I'm able to go to flight school and I've been given the great opportunity to go play professional baseball."
As Moore looks toward his future, he can draw inspiration from Mitch Harris, a fellow Navy grad, who recently reached the Majors as a member of the Cardinals' bullpen after fulfilling his five-year military commitment.
"That guy was not only an incredible player at the Naval Academy, but he has worked his tail off and he's now pitching big," Moore said. "If that is not inspiration enough, I don't know what is."
After being selected late Tuesday afternoon, Moore made the 30-minute drive from his Marietta, Ga., home to Turner Field to watch the Braves record a comeback win over the Padres.
"It was crazy to think I was even a part of that organization at that point," Moore said. "You just look down on the field and it's completely different. That was probably the best Braves game I've ever been to, because I was a part of it."