Mitch Moreland: An Everyday First Baseman?


As I type this, I feel it necessary to clarify that you and I both know and realize that yes, the season is still young and we’re working with relatively nothing of discernible value in terms of 2013 statistics. Nonetheless, Mitch Moreland is not worthy of being an everyday first baseman on a first division team. Whoa, that escalated quickly, didn’t it? Please, let me explain.

Apr 19, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Rangers first baseman Mitch Moreland (18) laughs during the game against the Seattle Mariners at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Mitch Moreland made his MLB debut on July 29, 2010. Moreland was essentially the replacement for the formerly highly touted, Justin Smoak, whom was packaged together in the trade with Seattle that sent Cliff Lee to Texas. Since Moreland’s debut in 2010, he has accumulated 1.2 fWAR over 315 games. Sure, Moreland has exhibited flashes of prodigious power, but his obvious Achilles’ heel has been his inability to hit LHP. For his career in 223 PA against LHP, Moreland has posted a 57 wRC+ and a wOBA of .267, which is truly awe inspiring for all of the wrong reasons (awe inspiring for the fact that Ron Washington trusts Moreland to be the everyday first baseman in 2013). Conversely, Moreland has been above average against RHP. In 889 PA against RHP, Moreland has posted a 109 wRC+ and a wOBA of .344. If utilized correctly in a platoon role, Moreland would provide the Rangers with some marginal offensive value, but as an everyday first baseman, Moreland is well short of getting the job done. To prove my point, since 2010, out of 39 qualifying first basemen, Mitch Moreland ranks 31st in wRC+ and 30th in wOBA, which is simply not acceptable for a first division team.

So sure, the 2013 season is still young, but the odds of Mitch Moreland suddenly becoming able to hit LHP are unrealistic to put it politely. In his current role as an everyday first baseman, Mitch Moreland WILL grow to be an albatross in the Rangers’ lineup. If utilized correctly in a platoon role, Moreland would effectively provide some marginal offensive value.

Mitch Moreland has exhibited exactly the kind of player he is. It is simply a matter of Ron Washington deterring from his gut and utilizing Moreland in the proper role.