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Blog Entry

Would You Rather Have: Strasburg or Moore?

Posted on: January 16, 2012 11:31 pm

By Matt Snyder

Admission time: This is the matchup I've been most looking forward to in this series. In judging from the comments on occasion, it seems that some fans become angry when we speculate about what might happen in the future. I couldn't possibly be more in disagreement with that sentiment. Thinking is fun. There's no right answer yet, so why not just make an educated guess on which player will end up with the better career? In fact, I think it's much more boring in the offseason to discuss what has already happened than to try and surmise what is coming next.

So we're going to do some looking ahead here and ask that you do the same. We're going to go with two young pitchers who appear to have ace potential, but the sample sizes we have seen in the majors aren't very big -- and with one of these guys, he's already undergone major arm surgery.

It's Stephen Strasburg of the Nationals against Matt Moore of the Rays. A righty against a lefty -- and both with gobs of potential.

The case for Strasburg

This one could be spun whatever way one wants, based upon any preconceived biases. We could say Strasburg was the most heavily-hyped pitching prospect since Mark Prior ... And look how he turned out! Or we could say Strasburg is the most heavily-hyped pitching prospect since Roger Clemens.

Then there is the Tommy John surgery. There have been players that had their career ruined by the procedure, so focusing on them suits the Strasburg haters. Of course, nowadays the procedure is successful at a very high rate and you could go down the list of names like Tim Hudson, Chris Carpenter, John Axford, Jaime Garcia, Shaun Marcum, Brian Wilson, C.J. Wilson, etc. etc. etc.

Would You Rather Have
What if Strasburg stays healthy the rest of his career and does what he's done his entire life: Dominate the opposition. That's an ace for about 15 years.

Strasburg, 23, was the first overall pick in the MLB Draft after making collegiate hitters look silly for a few years. In 17 minor-league starts, he's 8-3 with a 1.90 ERA, 0.81 WHIP and 94 strikeouts in 75 2/3 innings. In 92 major-league innings, Strasburg is 6-4 with a 2.54 ERA, 0.98 WHIP and 116 strikeouts against just 19 walks. This past season, he was even more dominant upon his return from Tommy John surgery, putting up a 1.50 ERA, 0.71 WHIP and 24 strikeouts in 24 innings. He only walked two hitters.

He's going to have his innings capped at 160 this season to protect him in recovery, but starting in 2013 -- assuming full health -- watch out.

The case for Moore

Unlike Strasburg, Moore built himself into a huge prospect while in the minors. He wasn't hyped heading into the draft, as the Rays snagged him in the eighth round. Still, the 22-year-old left-hander was utterly dominant in 2011. He was promoted to Triple-A midseason, where in nine starts he went 4-0 with a 1.37 ERA, 0.97 WHIP and 79 strikeouts in 52 2/3 innings. He was so good the Rays felt that was all the time he needed before hitting the bigs in September. Moore made a pair of relief appearances and then one start: Against the Yankees. He did not disappoint, striking out 11 hitters in five shutout innings, picking up in the all-important win as the Rays were chasing down the Red Sox in the wild-card race.

Then, manager Joe Maddon felt comfortable enough with the rookie (he'll still be a rookie in '12, by the way) to start him in Game 1 of the ALDS. And Moore was nails. He threw seven shutout innings against the mighty Rangers in the most hitter-friendly ballpark in the majors. He struck out six while allowing just two hits, two walks and a hit batsman.

On top of all that, the Rays have locked Moore up with an incredibly team-friendly contract through 2016 -- but club options could keep him away from free agency until 2018. On the other hand, Strasburg's agent is Scott Boras, so the Nats won't have near as easy a time in keeping him.

Our call

I think the question comes down to if you trust Strasburg's arm to stay healthy. Moore looks like he has perennial All-Star potential, but Strasburg has Hall of Fame talent. I like gambling, so I'm going to go with Strasburg. If you're conservative with selections like this -- and want to factor in contract status in a major way -- Moore is the pick. But I'm not conservative on issues like this. Gimme Strasburg and the possibility of him winning a handful of Cy Youngs.

Fan Vote:

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Since: Jan 19, 2012
Posted on: January 19, 2012 4:07 pm

Would You Rather Have: Strasburg or Moore?

Nats fan here, and huge Strasburg fan.  If you could just assume away the injury risk, then Strasburg would be the no brainer choice.  No way he is a 1 pitch hard thrower, he is as complete a pitcher as you are going to see at 23.  But you can't just assume away injuries, and what people forget about because of the TJ is that he had shoulder stiffness earlier in the year.  So I think that we will always live with worry over injuries for him.

But that being said, as a fan, I wouldn't trade for him for Moore, or any other pitcher in the game, actually.  I am not saying he is the best pitcher in the game right now, but his stuff is electric and I would not give up the chance to see him pitch regularly and see what happens if he can stay healthy.

Since: Jun 30, 2011
Posted on: January 19, 2012 1:02 pm

Would You Rather Have: Strasburg or Moore?

strasburg is a stud if he stays away from injury he def a top 5 pitcher today.

Since: Oct 9, 2009
Posted on: January 19, 2012 9:33 am

Would You Rather Have: Strasburg or Moore?

It is amazing how many people make up information.  I am a Nationals fan and watched probably 80 games last year, if not more.  I have followed Strasburg since college and for the first time, am reading crazy statements that I have never heard from posters on a message board.  Can someone start providing credible info instead of saying "most scouts say" or "he has only one pitch" because from someone who follows nearly everything about the guy, I see a completely different player.

Since: Nov 26, 2007
Posted on: January 18, 2012 11:24 pm

Would You Rather Have: Strasburg or Moore?

Youre comment is 100% false.

Since: Jan 18, 2012
Posted on: January 18, 2012 7:59 pm

Would You Rather Have: Strasburg or Moore?

Too many baseball scouts are saying unless he changes his
throwing mechanics he will blow our his shoulder like Prior did.


I would take Moore.

Since: Sep 24, 2007
Posted on: January 18, 2012 7:32 pm

Would You Rather Have: Strasburg or Moore?

ZIM FROM OHIO, this is a Totally erroneous statment....

Strasburg is not just a one pitch (fastball) pitcher... He has GREAT breaking stuff, his ball drops off a table... Part of what makes Strasburg so special is his ability to throw hard AND KNOWING how to use his brain to be a pitcher... 

Perhaps you should WATCH him pitch sometime... 

Since: Sep 24, 2007
Posted on: January 18, 2012 7:27 pm

Would You Rather Have: Strasburg or Moore?

Echele 112, This could not have argued this any better!!!!

The original writer completely made "stats" up, they are completely erroneous. Can anyone say unequivocally Strasburg will avoid injury?? Obviously not! Can anyone say ANY pitcher will avoid injury, no? 

The experts are  still waiting for Tim Lincecum, who throws hard and has an extremly unorthodox delivery to get injured, but considering he doesn't even ice his arm after he pitches, that likely won't transpire anytime soon either...

Since: Dec 24, 2011
Posted on: January 18, 2012 5:28 pm

Would You Rather Have: Strasburg or Moore?

I gotta go with Strasburg.   I ordered the MLB package just to watch this guy pitch when he first came up.  I watched everyone of his his starts and he is rediculous.  I have to go with Snydwer here.   Take the Risk on Strasburgs health and take him.   Way too much too lose if you passed on him, hes got amazing stuff.

Since: Jan 18, 2012
Posted on: January 18, 2012 3:25 pm

Would You Rather Have: Strasburg or Moore?

Moore by far!  Tampa's minor league instructors have been pumping out studs for years now.  Strasburg is running on physical ability more than "knowing" how to pitch

Since: May 2, 2010
Posted on: January 18, 2012 1:50 pm

Would You Rather Have: Strasburg or Moore?

Who would you rather have...Sofia Vergara or Jessica Alba?
Why not both?

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or