The last two offseasons have not been kind to Mike Moustakas.
After hitting a Royals franchise record 38 home runs in 2017, Moustakas went into free agency hoping to score a long-term deal. Months went by without a new contract. He was forced to settle in early March, taking a one-year, $6.5 million deal to return to Kansas City.
The Royals traded Moustakas to the Brewers midway through the 2018 season, ending his 12-year tenure with the organization. (Moustakas had been the Royals’ first round pick in 2007.) While he played well, his offensive production took a dip from the year prior. This was particularly true in the power department: Moustakas’ ISO fell from .249 to .208. He posted a 105 wRC+ and 2.4 WAR overall.
Due to improved defense, Moustakas was actually more valuable in 2018 than he was in 2017, but he faced similar issues in his attempt to procure a new contract. Again, Moustakas was forced to wait until late in the game to sign. A February 19 contract with the Brewers — a one-year, $10 million pact with a $7 million mutual option — to be the starting second baseman was the offer he ultimately accepted.
But now, after his second chilly free agency winter, Moustakas has stepped up his game, reaching a new level of offensive performance that we have not previously witnessed.
His numbers are better across the board. He’s already hit 22 home runs, just six shy of his 2018 season total. His 47-home run pace (per 650 PA) would result in a career-high. But in a larger sense, Moustakas has done more than just crank homers. He is getting on base at a higher rate and collecting more hits, many of which have been of the extra-base variety. His .390 wOBA would be a career-high, as would be his 140 wRC+. Moustakas has already produced 2.7 WAR, his highest total in four years and already the third-highest mark of his career. All of which is to say that Mike Moustakas has experienced an offensive surge, and I’m here to tell you why. Read the rest of this entry »