Breaking Down Colin Moran’s Strong Finish To 2018

(Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) /

After an inconsistent, and sometimes poor, first five months of the season, Pirate rookie third baseman Colin Moran made an adjustment at the plate that led to a great six week stretch to finish his rookie season

When the Pittsburgh Pirates traded Gerrit Cole to the Houston Astros in January one of the big pieces sent back to the Pirates in the deal was third baseman Colin Moran. The left-handed hitting Moran was viewed as a hitter with a plus hitting tool and the ability to develop power.

Following an inconsistent rookie campaign, Moran finished 2018 with a .277/.340/.407 slash line, .322 wOBA, 103 wRC+, an 8.4% walk rate, and a 17.3% strikeout rate. While Moran did a good job of drawing walks and making contact, overall he still rated out as a league average hitter. However, there is reason to believe Moran can take the next step in 2019.

In late August, Moran made an adjustment at the plate. Just as Gregory Polanco did earlier in the season with success, Moran backed off the plate. The idea was this would give Moran the ability to cover the plate and help him to drive pitches better.

Through play on August 24th Moran’s numbers left a lot to be desired. His .381 slugging percentage was well below league average, and he was getting on base at just a .331 clip. However, after making his adjustment at the plate Moran took off during the final six weeks of the season.

SluggingOBPISOHard Contact RateExtra Base Hit Rate
Pre-August 25th.381.331.11430.4%5.8%
Post-August 25th.527.381.20343.3%10.7%

After making his change at the plate, Moran began to drive the ball better and the extra base hits came as a result. By backing off the plate Moran was able to hang in there longer allowing him to better see the ball, get on base more, and hit the ball with more authority.

The one major aspect that had been missing from Moran’s game offensively was power. But during the final six weeks of the season that power appeared to be developing for Moran. It is now up to him to make the changes he made to bring about this power surge stick.

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If Colin Moran can parlay his strong finish to 2019 into an improved 2018 season, then he can become an impact bat for the Pittsburgh Pirates. If he can do this, it can go a long way toward helping the Pirates fix their offensive inconsistencies in 2019.