Will rookie Matt Moore turn it around? 

July, 2, 2012
7/02/12
10:54
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Chicago White Sox left-hander Chris Sale -- that's All-Star left-hander now -- is having a monster season in his first year as a full-time starter. He's top-five statistically, according to the ESPN Player Rater, and that's pretty much what I expected ... from Tampa Bay Rays left-hander Matt Moore. That's right, Moore has the stuff to dominate as well, but entering Monday's AL East matchup with the New York Yankees, he's barely in the top 150 among pitchers on our Rater.

Moore's ERA and WHIP are inflated, and among the pitchers that have apparently helped fantasy owners more are Minnesota Twins relievers Alex Burnett and Jared Burton, Houston Astros' Lucas Harrell and Wilton Lopez and Toronto Blue Jays "youngster" Darren Oliver, who was pitching in the South Atlantic League for the Gastonia Rangers when Moore was born. That's ridiculous. This all saddens me, since Moore was my AL Rookie of the Year pick (it will be Mike Trout, quite clearly), and owners made him the 75th choice in ESPN average live drafts. He should be awesome.

[+] EnlargeMoore
Joy R. Absalon/US PresswireMatt Moore currently sits at No. 143 among all pitchers on the 2012 ESPN Player Rater.
Well, I'm buying low on Moore, and it's not because I'm stubborn. I'm more than willing to admit I'm wrong about a player (such as Moore's teammate Fernando Rodney, for example), but I cannot give up on the hard-throwing Moore. I don't think this is a case in which playoff performance -- Moore started Game 1 of the playoffs and ultimately permitted only one run in 10 innings against the Texas Rangers -- overrated a player, either. I still really like the 23-year-old. We're halfway through the season, and as I look further into Moore's lesser numbers, I see someone that at least made strides in June; Moore's ERA in those five starts was 3.16, and his WHIP was 1.27. His strikeout rate was terrific, as it was in May. The walks and home runs allowed are a bit inflated as well, but there's another factor at work here: Left-handed hitters are teeing off on Moore.