Scout.com's 2012 Top-100 MLB Prospects rankings were released earlier this week and 22-year-old Matthew Moore sits atop the list compiled by National Baseball Expert Frankie Piliere.
Moore, who was drafted in the 8th round of the 2007 June Amateur Draft by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, had a sensational season in 2011. In 155 innings in the minors, split between AA Montgomery and AAA Durham, he went 12-3 in 27 starts. He posted an earned run average of 1.92 and struck out 12.2 hitters per nine innings.
He culminated his fantastic season with a surprise start in Game 1 of the American League Division Series where he pitched the Rays to a 9-0 victory over the Texas Rangers by holding them scoreless for 7 innings.
Coming into the 2011 season Moore was named the #15 prospect in the game by Baseball America while Piliere had him at #11. Baseball America also recently named him the Rays' top prospect for 2012.
Los Angeles Angels OF Mike Trout and Washington Nationals OF Bryce Harper who finished first and second respectively in Scout's rankings in 2011, each move down a position to second and third in this year's rankings.
The rest of the Top 10 consists of Atlanta Braves LHP Julio Teheran (4th), New York Yankees C Jesus Montero (5th), St. Louis Cardinals LHP Shelby Miller (6th), Texas Rangers SS Jurickson Profar (7th), Baltimore Orioles SS Manny Machado (8th), New York Yankees LHP Manny Banuelos (9th) and Pittsburgh Pirates RHP Gerrit Cole (10th).
Two other Rays' prospects made the Top 100. SS Hak-Ju Lee checks in at #20 on the list, while LHP Alex Torres is ranked at #72.
Moore, who is an early favorite for American League Rookie of the Year, was recently inked to a long-term extension that could keep him with the Rays until 2019. Despite this, he is not a lock to make the Rays' rotation out of Spring Training due to the team's exceptional pitching depth. However, he is expected to pitch at the big league level sometime in 2012.
John Gregg is Publisher and Senior Editor of Rays Digest. You can follow him on Twitter at @RaysDigest. He can also be reached via e-mail at email@example.com.
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