Detroit's Moya sparkles on Fall League Opening Day
Tigers' slugger has three hits, RBIs in win for Glendale over Mesa
Steven Moya, the Tigers No. 7 prospect, did plenty of hitting during the regular season. He hit 35 home runs in 133 games with Double-A Erie, the most in the Eastern League and the fourth most among all Minor Leaguers. That earned him a September call-up to Detroit, where he singled in his first big league plate appearance and went 3-for-8 in 11 games for the Tigers.
Moya's impactful season at the plate continued Tuesday on Opening Day in the Arizona Fall League. He collected three hits and drove in three runs, both game highs, as Glendale defeated Mesa, 9-3.
Moya finished the day 3-for-5 with a double and a run. He played right field and batted cleanup, hitting behind shortstop Corey Seager, the Dodgers No. 1 prospect, in the Desert Dogs lineup.
"It feels great to help the team win," Moya said. "It feels great winning. It feels great to be playing baseball again."
Moya wasn't away from the game long. The Tigers ended their regular season Sept. 28, giving Moya just a few days to relax before heading to Arizona to begin preparations for the fall. He represented the Tigers in the Bowman Hitting Challenge, which kicked off the AFL season Saturday.
Now, he will get six more weeks of baseball to work on his game. He said he hopes to continue improving his approach at the plate, a part of the game he worked on during the regular season as well.
"Just keep watching the ball and try to get better at the strike zone," Moya said.
Led by Moya, the Desert Dogs exploded for nine runs on 14 hits Tuesday. Seager, ranked No. 13 on MLBPipeline.com's Top 100 Prospects list, went 2-for-3 with two doubles, two runs and an RBI. He also drew two walks. Glendale also got a boost from third baseman Jason Esposito and first baseman Neil Ramirez, who each hit a solo home run in the victory.
All the offense helped the Desert Dogs overcome an early 2-0 deficit. The Solar Sox chased starter Zach Davies in the second inning and took the lead when Addison Russell, the Cubs' No. 2 prospect, greeted reliever Chris Bassitt with a two-run single.
But those would be the last runs Mesa scored until the ninth inning. Bassitt struck out three batters and held the Solar Sox to two hits in 2 1/3 innings to pick up the win. Right-handers Parker Bridwell, Brooks Halland and Zac Reininger combined to follow Bassitt with four hitless innings of relief, allowing Glendale to put the game away.
In all, the Desert Dogs held the Solar Sox to just four hits. Russell, ranked No. 5 on the Top 100, finished the day 1-for-4. Center fielder Dalton Pompey, the Blue Jays' No. 3 prospect and No. 88 on the Top 100, added a walk and a run.
With an Opening Day victory now under their belts, Moya and the Desert Dogs will hope to build on their performance throughout the fall. Already, Moya said he has been impressed by his teammates.
"This is a good team," Moya said. "We have a lot of good baseball players."