Brewers draft 'Big Game Bob,' son of KC's Dayton Moore

Arkansas infielder, 20, was All-SEC first team in 2021

July 18th, 2022

MILWAUKEE -- The familiar baseball names were not limited to the very top of the 2022 Draft.

On a day that saw the sons of Matt Holliday and Andruw Jones go first and second overall among the handful of sons and brothers of former big leaguers who were drafted, the son of Royals president of baseball operations Dayton Moore -- Arkansas infielder Robert Moore, aka “Big Game Bob” -- went 72nd overall to the Brewers on Sunday night.

By then, the Royals had made both of their Day 1 selections. That meant dad and son could celebrate.

“I was on the phone with Dayton and ... we’d already made our picks and everything, and he was kind of updating me,” said Lonnie Goldberg, the Royals’ VP of player personnel. “I said, ‘How’s Robert?’ And he said, ‘Yeah, he’s got some different options.’

“All of a sudden I could hear Robert in the background, screamed out, ‘I’m going to Milwaukee!’ I’ve known Robert for so long. I’m just happy for him.”

Said Brewers vice president of domestic scouting Tod Johnson: “He loves baseball. He wants to go play baseball.”

That’s probably not a surprise. Moore’s father started as a Braves scout in 1994, moved up in their front office and then moved to Kansas City in 2006 to be general manager. Robert was 12 years old when the Royals won the American League pennant in 2014. He was 13 when they won the World Series in ’15. On Monday, Robert recalled attending every Spring Training of his life and 40-60 regular-season games a year, spending time in the GM's booth with the likes of Jason Kendall, a Royals special assistant. His favorite player, Robert said, was Alcides Escobar, the shortstop who began his career with the Brewers before being packaged with prospects and traded to Kansas City in a deal that helped the Royals win it all.

There was a chance Robert would go to the Royals with their second-round pick at No. 49, but he said he was happy to land with the Brewers. Their area scout, Mark Muzzi, visited him in Fayetteville, Ark., after the Razorbacks were eliminated from the College World Series, and that meeting made an impression on Moore.

"I remember thinking, 'I really want to be with the Brewers,'" Robert Moore said. "I'm really thankful it worked out. I'm going to be signing with the Brewers. I got to finish my amateur career at the College World Series, which is unbelievable, and now I get to start my pro career. Thank you to Mr. Muzzi for fighting hard for me."

When his name was called, the whole family was watching.

"The Royals picked nine and 49, so after the 49th pick, [his dad] hurried home," Robert Moore said. "We were always expecting the 40-60 range, and we didn't go. We had a couple of things in place that ended up falling through, and we kept falling. I eventually went at No. 72, and my dad was there and my mom was there. We found out a couple of picks before, so we got my sister on the phone, who is a missionary in Panama. We told her to turn it on. We called our grandparents and told them to turn it on. It was really cool."

Robert was 17 when he graduated high school and enrolled at Arkansas, which explains how the Brewers drafted him at 20 years old, making him the youngest Draft-eligible player at a four-year college in this cycle.

“Honestly, he came into the year with thoughts that he might go in the first round,” Johnson said. “He’s a good baseball story.”

Moore, a 5-foot-9, 170-pound switch-hitter, batted .232 with 19 doubles, two triples, eight home runs, 44 RBIs and five stolen bases in 65 games in 2022 while winning the collegiate version of a Gold Glove Award at second base. A year earlier, he was named second-team All-American and All-SEC first team in 2021 after hitting .283 with 16 home runs and 53 RBIs.

The drop in batting average and home run production caused Moore’s Draft stock to dip, but Johnson noted that he reached base at a similar clip and matched his extra-base hit production, doing it with doubles instead of home runs. Moore himself attributed the dip to a stretch of bad games, which are tough to overcome from a statistical standpoint in a short season.

Considering Moore's relative young age, the Brewers believe there’s room to develop. And given that he grew up in baseball and knows the grind ahead, Brewers scouts believe Moore will take well to the everyday nature of pro ball.

“He kind of had a rougher year this year, which is why he was available to us at pick 72,” Johnson said. “But a lot of the foundation of what he was good at offensively was still there. … He had a rough year. He admits it and he’s also very motivated to get back to what he thinks he should be doing. I talked to him tonight. He’s an incredible kid. He’s a super hard worker.”

Perhaps some of that comes from time with dad.

"I sat up there with guys like Jason Kendall ... and Rafael Belliard, just great baseball men who would speak baseball and I would pick up on things," Robert Moore said. "I would say that is what made the impact. My dad was an executive, he wasn't a player. But there was a different aspect [to his influence]."