Revamped prospect Moore in command for Phils
24-year-old righty impressing Thomson with improved accuracy
LAKELAND, Fla. -- McKinley Moore said he hasn’t noticed that he is the only healthy pitcher in Phillies camp who has not yet pitched in the big leagues.
That’s a good thing.
It means Moore, who is the Phillies’ No. 20 prospect, is impressing. He allowed one hit in a scoreless inning Thursday night in a 10-1 victory over Detroit in a Grapefruit League game at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium. Moore, 24, has not allowed a run in 5 2/3 innings in six appearances this spring. He has allowed just two hits and struck out seven while walking none.
“He’s really been impressive,” manager Rob Thomson said. “His strike-throwing ability, big fastball, good slider, really good composure. He looks like a Major Leaguer. It’s funny how you get to these games, guys don’t throw strikes and it’s like an epidemic. But he’s been in games where we’ve had that, [then] he comes in and throws strikes.”
Moore joined the Phillies almost exactly a year ago in a trade with the White Sox for outfielder Adam Haseley, whose time had run its course in Philly. Moore, meanwhile, could be a bullpen option at some point, although he will need to be placed on the 40-man roster.
“I’m just coming out for my first big league camp and getting a chance to compete with these guys out here,” Moore said. “It’s a lot of fun. I don’t think my mindset has changed or anything.”
Moore’s thing at the time of the trade was that he threw really hard -- his fastball hit 98.8 mph on Thursday -- and he struck out a lot of batters, but he also walked more than a few. He averaged 12.9 strikeouts per nine innings in 2019, 13.1 in '21 and 12.9 last season. He averaged 6.9 walks per nine in '19, 4.6 in '21 and 4.7 last season.
“I really don’t know what’s kind of clicked for me,” Moore said. “We’ve done a couple things mechanically that have helped me get in the zone a bit more.”
Moore said he has lowered his leg lift this spring. It has made his delivery more compact.
“I was kind of erratic last year with a super-high leg lift,” he said. “My arm was slinging out. This year, I’m more direct to the plate. That’s allowed me to be more fluid and have a lot more command of my stuff.”
And it’s put him even more on the Phillies’ radar.