The Detroit Tigers have called up top-prospect Steven Moya. As a corresponding move, left-handed reliever Blaine Hardy has been optioned to Triple-A Toledo.
Moya began the season ranked 10th in the Tigers' system by MLB.com. Despite being the fourth-best outfielder in the Tigers' system by their list, Moya is the one who got called up.
The 24-year old has been running through Triple-A to begin the season. While his strikeout rate is quite high at 22 percent, and his walk rate is suspiciously low at 3.8 percent, he is hitting 85 percent better than the league average by wRC+ in his 132 plate appearances. The right-hander who bats left-handed has certainly earned a call-up.
The Tigers are sputtering at the moment at 15-18 -- seven games back of the division-leading White Sox. The offense has looked especially tired as of late, striking out a total of 20 times against Max Scherzer in Wednesday night's game.
So far this season, not a single outfielder for the Tigers is hitting above league average by wRC+. J.D. Martinez is the closest, hitting 11 percent worse than the league average. Anthony Gose sits 26 percent below the mean, and Justin Upton is 44 percent below the mean. Gose could see his at-bats dip the most going forward, though the centerfielder is still lauded for his defensive acumen. For the first game at least, Moya will bat seventh and play left field. Upton will slide into center.
The three outfielders that rank higher than Moya in the Tigers' system are Derek Hill, Christin Stewart, and Michael Gerber. The highest any of them sit is High-A at the moment, so they are all quite a distance from the majors. Moya may not project as nicely as those prospects, but he is certainly the most major-league ready. Furthermore, he has accrued some -- but not much -- service time over the past two seasons, amassing 33 plate appearances in the major leagues thus far.