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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: Aug 19, 2006
Posted on: January 18, 2012 12:38 pm

Would You Rather Have: Strasburg or Moore?

I'm not sure this is really a fair comparison. The thing Strasburg has that Moore does not is the hype.  Strasburg was the consensus #1 pick following a dominant college career.  Moore developed his dominance a little later.  Ask this question next year at this time, when both have proven a little more as major leaguers, and the results could be very different.  I'm actually surprised that it is only 60-40 in favor of Stras right now given that Stras has received so much media attention going back a few years now, while Moore has only gotten a fraction of the attention and only over the last year or so.

Since: Sep 29, 2006
Posted on: January 18, 2012 6:07 am

Would You Rather Have: Strasburg or Moore?

I'll take Moore all day long.  It only takes a handful of at-bats to catch up with that fastball.  It'll be fun to see how Strasburg holds up over 160 innings - when big league hitters face him for a second, third, or fourth time.  I say Stras' numbers start out sharp but get bloated as the season grinds along.

Since: Nov 7, 2008
Posted on: January 18, 2012 1:15 am

Would You Rather Have: Strasburg or Moore?

Moore. Strasburg is another Mark Prior.  He will be out of the league within a couple years.

Since: Nov 14, 2006
Posted on: January 17, 2012 9:21 pm

Would You Rather Have: Strasburg or Moore?

When Strasburg was on his hot streak early in the season, I heard Tim Lincicum's father interviewed.  He said with Strasburgs motion he didn't understand how his body could hold up.  Two week later, he broke down and was on the DL.  He has the speed but I think he's always going to be a brittle.

Since: Apr 2, 2009
Posted on: January 17, 2012 9:20 pm

Would You Rather Have: Strasburg or Moore?

Depends on if I get to hang out with Al Bundy or not.

Without knowing, I'd have to say Jessica Alba.  But that could change.  There's really no wrong aswer to that, as far as I'm concerned.

Pretty small sample for me to make a decision on the baseball options.  Stephen Strasburg was hyped up overly well, so I've seen a lot more of him. (MLBNET cut into programming so I could watch him warm up in minor league bullpens, that was nice.)  But I have no faith in the Expos/Nationals ever making a correct decision.

So, safe money would be on Matt Moore, maybe.  I don't know, does Moore have a town named after him yet?  Has John Jaso been kidnapped?

Since: Sep 9, 2009
Posted on: January 17, 2012 8:05 pm

Would You Rather Have: Strasburg or Moore?

Usually...I havent given up on Volquez yet, but then again I wasnt sold on him pre injury either.

Since: Sep 2, 2006
Posted on: January 17, 2012 5:55 pm

Would You Rather Have: Strasburg or Moore?

Who would you rather have...Sofia Vergara or Jessica Alba?

Since: Mar 4, 2007
Posted on: January 17, 2012 4:51 pm

Would You Rather Have: Strasburg or Moore?

"Pitchers that have TJ surgery usually come back stronger. I would take Strasburg all day."

Tell that to Edinson Volquez

Since: Jan 16, 2012
Posted on: January 17, 2012 4:32 pm

Would You Rather Have: Strasburg or Moore?

I'd take Strasburg. If he stays healthy and works more on his off-speed stuff to enhance his fastball, he will be a franchise pitcher for a decade. Even if he is limited to 160 innings next season. I tuned in to MLB from Europe to watch this guy pitch upon his return to the senior circuit late last summer.

Since: Sep 24, 2006
Posted on: January 17, 2012 3:36 pm

Stove Top Stuffing or Potatoes?

I guess when it gets to January are there aren't many baseball stories out there it comes down to Stasburg or Moore, Braun or Bautista, and Hot Stove Top Stuffing or Potatoes? Only a few more weeks until players report for Spring training and then the baseball writers can write more B.S. until the regular season begins in late March.

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