- In 2004, Moore watched fellow Moriarty High School (New Mexico) product Kyle Blanks, the Padres' top prospect, get drafted.
Born in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., the younger Moore moved with his family to Okinawa at age 6 when the Air Force transferred his Dad, Marty. When Matt was 10, they moved to Moriarty, N.M., about 20 miles east of Albuquerque. The Land of Enchantment is where older brother Bobby Moore set a New Mexico high school state record with 17 strikeouts in a seven-inning game, which came in the semifinals of the state championship.
"My brother was always better than me," Moore said. "If we were playing football, he was knocking me on my butt. If we were playing basketball, he was stuffing my shot. In baseball, he was teeing off on my pitches in Whiffle ball or hurting my hand by throwing too hard. I'd get mad, but he'd always say, 'How are you going to improve if you're not playing somebody better?'
"Now when I look back, he definitely helped me. Back then, I wanted to compete against him and make it hard for him even though I really didn't know how to beat him."
Four years older than Matt, Bobby went on to play at the University of New Mexico, though his career was interrupted by Tommy John surgery. (Bill Ballew-Baseball America-8/24/09)
- In 2008, Matt fell short of qualifying for (and thus winning) the Appalachian League ERA title by one-third of an inning, in part because Princeton had six games cancelled. He led the loop with 12.8 strikeouts per nine innings and opponent batting average (.154) and didn't allow a home run.
During the winter before 2009 spring training, the Baseball America Prospect Handbook ranked Moore as the 6th-best prospect in the Rays' farm system. They moved him up to #4 in the spring of 2010. In the offseason before 2011 spring training, he was up to second-best prospect in the Rays' farm system, behind only RHP Jeremy Hellickson.
Finally, in the spring of 2012, Moore was picked as the #1 prospect in the Rays' organization.
- In 2009, Matt led all of Minor League Baseball in strikeouts (176), strikeouts per 9 innings (12.9 Ks per 9) and lowest batting average against (.195).
- In 2010, Moore became the first minor leaguer to rack up more than 200 strikeouts since Minnesota's Francisco Liriano in 2005, and the first in the Florida State League since Houston's Mike Cosgrovein 1971. And for the second year in a row, Matt led the entier minor leagues in strikeouts.
- In 2010, Baseball America rated Matt as the #1 prospect in the Florida State League.
June 16, 2011: Two days before his 22nd birthday, Matt threw a nine-inning no-hitter for the Double-A Montgomery Biscuits (SL-Rays)—the first no-no in the team's history. He finished with 11 strikeouts and two walks.
It was Matt's brother's 25th birthday and the family was there to see it.
"When we were eating before the game, my brother asked me it I was superstitious, and if I eat the same thing (before every game). And I said, 'No, it's actually the opposite. I told myself I was going to wear the same polo shirt I got hit around in last week, just to prove to myself it wasn't the polo,'" Moore said.
- In 2011, Moore went a combined 12-3, 1.92 ERA between Double-A Montgomery and Triple-A Durham, threw a nine-inning no-hitter in June and pitched a perfect inning in the Futures Game. He finished second in the race for the Baseball America Minor League Player of the Year award to Mike Trout, as well as second in the minors in ERA, strikeouts (a career-high 210) and opponents' batting average (.184).
- On September 30, 2011, in the opener of the American League Division Series, Moore (22 years, 104 days) became the youngest starting pitcher to win his team's first game of the postseason. Gary Nolan (22 years, 129 days) was the previous holder of that distinction when he played in the 1970 National League Championship Series.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Moore is the first rookie starter to win his team's first game of the postseason since Jim Beattie of the Yankees defeated the Royals in the first game of the 1978 ALCS. Moore is also the fifth rookie all-time to turn the trick.
Finally, Moore is the first rookie in Major League history to pitch at least seven innings and allow no runs and two or fewer hits in a postseason game—and the second youngest to do it, behind Waite Hoyt (22 years, 27 days) in the 1921 World Series.
In January 2013, former James Shields offered a prediction about Matt Moore. Shields had been reminiscing about his time with the team when Moore's name entered the conversation. "Dude's going to have a great season," Shields said.
Obviously, Shields was spot on. Shields laughed when reminded about his prediction. For starters, he explained, he hadn't exactly gone out on a limb. After all, Moore possesses three quality pitches, he throws 97 mph from the left side, he works hard and he's mentally tough.
His manager, Maddon, has been impressed with Moore's makeup since he first joined the team. "He's got a nice way about him," Maddon said. "He handles different moments really well. Even when he was going poorly last year, I don't remember seeing him really getting totally dejected or despondent. And when he's going well, you don't see this air about him that changes, either. I mean, he's pretty much the same cat, good or bad, and I love that. The fact that he's 23 and can be that way really speaks to future success."
Moore attributes much of his development to the foundation Tampa Bay gave him after signing him out of high school in 2007. Despite having obvious natural talents, he progressed station-to-station through the system. Moore even repeated at Class A Princeton, where he spent the 2007 and 2008 seasons.
"What the Rays do with high school pitchers is great," Moore said. "They never put me into a situation where I wasn't just going to take off. I got drafted when I was 17. I knew how to throw the ball in the middle of the plate, I knew how to make my curveball snap off, but I didn't know how to locate anything, and I didn't have a changeup.
"With me, it was, 'Start from the bottom with this guy. We're going to send him in to see [pitching coach] Marty DeMerritt to teach him something about how to work and be in this game and be professional.' The progression for me was right on. I don't think there was a time when I needed to be somewhere and I wasn't."
Matt is Catholic and has a tattoo of Saint Michael, the patron saint of battle, on his left shoulder. St. Michael was Moore's sponsor saint when he got confirmed, and Matt believes it's a symbol of both baseball and life being a battle.
August 25, 2016: Matt was denied baseball immortality, but not satisfaction. One out away from recording the 18th no-hitter in the franchise's illustrious pitching history, Moore lost his place in the pantheon of Mathewson, Marichal, Cain, and Lincecum when Los Angeles rookie Corey Seager blooped a single to right field. Moore had barely retreated to the dugout when Santiago Casilla retired Justin Turner on one pitch to end the Giants' 4-0 victory. For Moore, however, the joy had just begun to wash over him.
Moore felt complete even without the complete game, or the no-hitter. He scraped the ceiling of his skill, which is an endeavor all accomplished athletes doggedly repeat.
"It was just fun," the 27-year-old Moore said after his first Giants victory. "That's one of the things that everybody says to each other on the way out to the field: 'Have fun.' At times, it's hard to actually enjoy yourself. So today, it was about as close as it comes to being able to have fun with it." (Haft - MLB.com)
Nov 23, 2016: Helping improve the quality of life for veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces isn't just something that's nice to do for Matt Moore. It's personal. Moore, the Giants left-hander, was immersed in military life as a youth. His father, Martin, served for 23 years in the Air Force. One of Moore's best friends since boyhood, Shane Turner, is a combat-wounded veteran. Additionally, Moore is acutely aware of the statistic that approximately 20 veterans commit suicide each day.
"That's something you can't really walk away from," Moore said. "I believe that it's our duty to take care of the people who have protected and served our country and provide help when they need it."
Embodying the spirit of Thanksgiving, Moore thus has thrown his support behind Ride 2 Recovery, a national nonprofit organization that supports veterans and first-responders in recovery from post-traumatic stress disorder and injury through community-based programs and cycling events across the country.
Launched in 2008, Ride 2 Recovery serves more than 10,000 veterans with its cycling-based programs.Moore, 27, was introduced to Ride 2 Recovery in February, when he represented his previous team, the Rays, by participating in an "honor ride" in the Tampa-St. Petersburg area. An honor ride is a non-competitive cycling event that allows anybody to ride alongside a veteran.
"There were hundreds of riders there," said Moore, singling out the substantial numbers of veterans recovering from injury on recumbent bicycles. "It was a really cool thing to see."
Ride 2 Recovery announced that Moore had joined a month-long fundraising effort that was scheduled to begin on Veterans Day earlier this month. Proceeds were designed to benefit Ride 2 Recovery's PTSD research and treatment programs. Nearly 1,000 cyclists took part in a Ride 2 Recovery event in Las Vegas on Nov. 12.
"I'm just trying to help where I can," said Moore, the 2013 All-Star. Ride 2 Recovery embraces a constructive philosophy for helping veterans make transitions in their lives. Moore appreciates the organization's outlook.
"Causes like Ride 2 Recovery really address [healing] from an approach which I agree with," he said. "A lot of it has to do with getting people active and on their bikes. They've had really good results as far as getting people off medicines and really getting their lives going." (C Haft - MLB.com - Nov 23, 2016)
June 2007: Moore was drafted in the 8th round of the draft, out of Moriarty High School in Moriarty, New Mexico. He signed with the Rays, and scout Jack Powell, for a bonus of $115,000.
December 9, 2011: Moore and the Rays reached agreement on a guaranteed five-year, $14 million contract, according to one source.
The deal includes multiple club options and could extend to eight years for a guaranteed $37.5 million and buy out two years of Moore's free agency, the source said. It includes escalator clauses based on innings pitched and games started that could raise the overall value to $40 million.
August 1, 2016: The Rays sent Moore to the Giants; acquiring 3B Matt Duffy, SS Lucius Fox, and RHP Michael Santos.
- November 3, 2016: The Giants exercsised their option on Matt for 2017.
|Birth City:||Fort Walton Beach, FL|
|Draft:||Devil Rays #8 - 2007 - Out of high school (NM)|
Matt has a 91-97 mph four-seam FASTBALL coming from the left side that jumps on the hitter with impressive hard, late movement, and he also as an 88-93 mph SINKER, along with an 88-93 mph CUTTER. He also has a tight, late-diving 78-81 mph power-breaking CURVEBALL with late bite and an effective 84-86 mph CHANGEUP that has a screwball-like effect and runs away from righthanded batters. He throws it consistently with good arm speed, deception and fade.
"My changeup's really come along, and it's become a pitch that I'm not afraid to throw in a full count or a 2-2 count," Moore said. "It's a weapon."
Both Matt's fastball and his curveball rate a 70 on the 20-80 scouting scale. (May 2016)
2016 Season Pitch Usage: 4-seam Fastball: 57.8% of the time; Sinker 2.5% of the time; Change 12.9%; Curve 22.2%; and Cutter 4.6% of the time.
It wasn’t a pitching coach or even a current pitcher who taught him the grip he still uses on his curveball. No, it was then-Rockies Triple-A catcher Jordan Pacheco, who went to high school 30 minutes away from Moore in New Mexico and played college baseball with Moore’s older brother at New Mexico, who gave him some help when Moore was a senior in high school visiting his older brother.
“I was over there working out with them, playing catch one day and I was throwing (Pacheco) some curveballs,” Moore said. “He threw me his and I said, ‘How do you throw that?’ I had seen him play in high school too and he always had a good curveball. So he showed me it. I didn’t really like it at first. It’s just a knuckle curve." (Ben Badler-Baseball America-8/01/11)
- Moore is very competitive on the mound, a real bulldog approach that enables him to find a way to win, even when he doesn't have his best stuff. He has poise and control, oozing confidence.
The ball comes out of Matt's hand real well. He has a smooth, easy delivery. And he has learned to repeat it more consistently, leading to more strikes and less balls.
"It's the result of trying to throw Strike 1 to start off every hitter," Moore said. "Whenever I find myself ahead in the count, that's when my pitches come alive and things start to work well in my favor."
2010: Matt, with the help of Charlotte pitching coach Neil Allen, he changed his grip to put his thumb more under the ball, enabling him to keep his pitches down in the zone.
May 2016 report: Moore has the stuff to be a #1 or #2 starting pitcher. He is a lefty with multiple swing-and-miss pitches, including a mid-90's heater—somewhat of a rarity. However, he's lost velo, from 96 mph in 2011, to 93 mph in 2015. Though he started the 2016 season poorly, there was a small spike to 94 mph late in May.
But Matt has slipped in the years following Tommy John surgery. It's looking like he is a guy who had the (very valuable) ability to strike hitters out, but wasn’t exceptionally good at any other part of pitching. The best pitchers limit walks and home runs in addition to striking batters out. The overall package was still a valuable one, but Moore looked like a guy with a killer fastball who could play off it with his secondary pitches, a curve and change.
Where he could get hitters to swing-and-miss almost 24 percent of the time in 2011, it dropped almost in half, to 12.6 percent of the time in 2015.
Matt says he has learned, "Strike one is the best pitch in baseball."
He is an intelligent pitcher with tremendous mound presence.
Entering the 2017 season, Moore had a career record of 45-33 and 3.91 ERA, allowing 554 hits and 68 home runs in 608 innings pitched.
- Matt controls the running game well.
July 29-September 3, 2013: Moore was on the D.L. with a sore muscle in his left elbow. An MRI exam revealed no structural damage.
Matt did not notify trainers of the injury until he was removed from the game, an eventual no-decision and Moore's first winless outing since June 14. Rays manager Joe Maddon said he would liked to have known about it sooner but that it was unfamiliar territory for Moore, as it was his first trip to the D.L.
"You're still bulletproof until you hurt your arm for the very first time," Maddon said. "Then it's a different world. Next time something comes around, I'm sure he's going to be a little more telling in regard to what's going on, but I know everything is fine. We backed off in time."
April 8, 2014: Moore was placed on the 15-day disabled list with swelling in his left elbow.
April 22, 2014: Moore had Tommy John surgery to repair and replace the ulnar-collateral ligament in his left elbow and missed the rest of the season. Dr. James Andrews did the procedure.
March 27-June 30, 2015: Matt began the season on the 60-day D.L. while recovering from his T.J. surgery.
Matt said his rehab from the elbow ligament replacement surgery went without a hitch, and the Rays never pressured him to return sooner.
"Hats off to them for really being able to handle all that with . . . I don't know if grace is the right word, but we didn't have many disagreements and I was healthy the whole way," Moore told reporters. "There weren't setbacks. It's been a success."