While first round pick Tim Stauffer, taken in the same draft, is poised to begin his career as a San Diego Padre, Daniel Moore has yet to pitch above Low-A in the Midwest League and Moore actually got more to sign, $800K, than Stauffer, $750K.
"We love Moore's size, arm motion and durability," Padres scouting director Bill Gayton said just after he was drafted. "He's big and strong with a fastball from 92-93 (mph). And he throws three pitches for strikes. He has a great change-up and curve."
Moore went 7-3 with one complete game and a 3.56 ERA in 17 games for the North Carolina Tar Heels.
But in the Padres organization he has been anything but durable. He lasted six innings just once in his debut season with the Eugene Emeralds and joined Fort Wayne for 2004.
“Dan Moore is a guy that has to hit spots and locate his pitches and pitch down in the strike zone,” Padres’ Director of Player Development Tye Waller said.
This year, Moore lasted four games before succumbing to a rotator cuff tear that did not require surgery. He was less than effective prior to the injury on April 29. In 17 innings, Moore allowed 14 runs – not second round material.
One Padres’ scout went so far as to call him out for not pitching up to his ability and nursing the injury for longer than necessary – but his words weren’t fit for print.
“It is somewhat frustrating that he doesn’t get to go out and get the innings which are going to be the best teacher for you as far as what direction to go in,” Waller said.
Moore did return to the field this year but only made it as far as Peoria. In his first outing back he gave up two runs, one earned, in four innings. In his second outing with the Arizona Rookie League club, Moore was tagged for four runs on seven hits in three innings of work. He would make it into one more game, lasting an inning and two-thirds before his arm gave him trouble again.
“The only way they improve is when they get out and compete in everyday situations,” Waller said. “We are going to have him out in Instructional League program and hopefully get him to 100 percent where we can make up for lost time.”
The Padres are masking their frustration with the left-handed Moore. As they see others progress, Moore remains stagnant. While the injury is a legitimate concern, the team had hoped Moore would breeze through Low-A and already have some starts under his belt in Double-A.
Moore has a good curve and a fastball that reaches 92-93. Velocity and location, a forte when he was drafted, are not at the level many expected. When he misses, he misses high in the zone – a sure way to see the ball get hammered.
What was once a bright career is suddenly on the brink. The Padres will not give up on Moore and he is expected to land back in Fort Wayne this coming year. An offseason of change awaits. Moore must show he wants to make baseball his career and rededicate himself in an effort to be in midseason form by the start of the season.