Phillies 2024 Season Preview: RHP McKinley Moore

While he's not projected to be a steady piece of the bullpen, Phillies fans can expect to see more of Moore in 2024.
Philadelphia Phillies vs. Cincinnati Reds
Philadelphia Phillies vs. Cincinnati Reds / Dylan Buell/GettyImages

The next player in our Philadelphia Phillies 2024 Season Preview Series is reliever McKinley Moore.

Previous season previews: José AlvaradoAndrew BellattiAlec BohmConnor BrogdonNick CastellanosRodolfo CastroKody ClemensJake CaveDylan CoveySeranthony Domínguez, Darick Hall, Kolby Allard, Bryce Harper, Jeff Hoffman, Orion Kerkering, Rafael Marchán, Brandon Marsh, Yunior Marté, Diego Castillo, Michael Mercado

We'll look back at Moore's 2023 performance and then examine where he might end up this season using the popular Steamer and ZiPS projection systems, which can be found on FanGraphs.

McKinley Moore 2023 stats and 2024 projections

2023 Stats: 3 G, 3.1 IP, 0-0 record, 18.90 ERA, 3.00 WHIP, 2 SO, 5 BB, -0.1 fWAR

2024 Steamer: 23 G, 23 IP, 1-1 record, 4.18 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, 24 SO, 13 BB, 0.1 fWAR

2024 ZiPS DC: 23 G, 23 IP, 1-2 record, 5.41 ERA, 1.65 WHIP, 28 SO, 17 BB, 0.0 fWAR

McKinley Moore 2024 season preview

In March 2022, the Phillies traded outfielder Adam Haseley to the Chicago White Sox for pitcher McKinley Moore.

On April 10 last season, he made his major league debut, which started out well:

When manager Rob Thomson sent him back out for more action, though, he ran into trouble, ending the day with three earned runs and three walks surrendered in 1 1/3 innings against the Miami Marlins. In two more appearances for the Phillies last year, he gave up a total of four runs across two innings.

The minor leagues were a different story, however, with Moore putting up a dazzling 1.33 ERA in 20 1/3 innings for Single-A Clearwater, Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

The Phillies have been relatively quiet on the free-agent market when it comes to signing star relievers this offseason, though, so Moore playing a role for the big league club in 2024 isn't out of the question.

Moore's strikeout-to-walk ratio is projected to right itself

In his very limited MLB action in 2023, Moore found himself in trouble with his control, walking five and only striking out two batters, good for a 9.5 percent strikeout percentage and 23.8 percent walk rate.

This year, both Steamer and ZiPS DC projections have those numbers stabilizing. The former has his strikeout percentage at 24.3 and his walk rate at 12.6 percent. The latter has 25.5 and 15.9 percent, respectively.

While the 25-year-old will need to continue to cut down on walks to be a consistently effective reliever, the projections are a good sign for the right-hander. As it stands, his WHIP projections of 1.43 (Steamer) and 1.65 (ZiPS) would be a drastic improvement but still higher than you'd like to see from a reliever.

As part of that, one of Moore's strengths in the minor leagues was leaving runners on base, with him stranding 82.6 percent of his opponents on base in Triple-A. In MLB, that dipped all the way to 47.2 percent. While ZiPS has him rebounding to 68.8 percent, Steamer gives him even more of an edge at 73.6 percent.

Moore is in line for more playing time in 2024

Considering the reliever only made three appearances last year, it's not surprising that both Steamer and ZiPS have him slated for an increase in MLB playing time, with both projections having him down for 23 innings in 23 games this year.

Throughout spring training last year, Moore dazzled, with Thomson telling's Todd Zolecki: "He's really been impressive. His strike-throwing ability, big fastball, good slider, really good composure. He looks like a major leaguer."

If Moore can find his composure and control in the big leagues again with those two pitches — opponents had a .375 batting average against his four-seamer (97.2 mph) and a .400 average against his sweeper — he has a good chance of staying near the top of the list of valuable call-ups when the team needs reinforcements.

Assuming the right-hander can stick with the team for 20-plus games as projected, the organization should finally get a good, extended look at him. However, he'll have a lot of competition among other right-handers out of the 'pen — including Brogdon, Covey, Marté, Luis Ortiz, and Nick Nelson, along with new additions Max Castillo and Michael Rucker — for playing time.

If Moore can demonstrate better, more consistent control over his pitches, the 6-foot-6 reliever could be a surprising piece for the bullpen as the season progresses.