McKinley Moore was a 14th-round pick by the Chicago White Sox in the 2019 MLB Draft. In 2022, he became a part of the Phillies when the White Sox traded him for outfielder Adam Haseley. With the Phillies investing big time in their outfield by signing star players Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber to huge contracts at the time, Haseley became expendable and was used to acquire some bullpen help.
Unfortunately, Moore has yet to develop into one of the key cogs of the Phillies’ relief corps. Despite possessing a high-octane four-seam fastball in the upper 90s, leading to his superb strikeout ability, he has trouble with control and command, limiting his overall effectiveness. This was witnessed during his college years when he averaged an ERA close to 8.00 and a WHIP close to 2.20. It has also been a problem throughout his minor league career, with an ERA close to 4.00 and a WHIP above 1.50, despite striking out almost 1.5 batters per inning.
Moore got his cameo appearance with the Phillies in 2023, appearing in three games in April. But as expected, he was eaten alive, giving up seven earned runs on five hits, with five walks and only two strikeouts in just 3 1/3 innings of work. He was subsequently sent back down to the minors where he ended up spending the rest of the season.
During his minor league tenure, he was plagued by injury woes for the bulk of the year but managed to post a sub-2.00 ERA in his limited playing time. But even with the impressive ERA mark, he was a little lucky as he still endured some command issues with a 1.67 WHIP and 22 walks in just 20 1/3 innings.
Already four years and counting into his professional baseball career, Moore needs to start making the right adjustments to succeed at the major league level and to truly say he deserves his spot on the 40-man roster.