It’s one milestone after another for Steven Moya…
The 24-year-old Puerto Rican baseball player, an outfielder for the Detroit Tigers, reached one milestone this week — hitting his first home run in the club’s last road series against the Kansas City Royals.
And it only took him three days before reaching another significant achievement — a multi-home run game.
With an extended stay in right field following the injury to regular outfielder J.D. Martinez, who is sidelined four to six weeks with a fractured elbow, Moya is making sure that the Tigers aren’t experiencing any drop-off at the plate.
The 6-foot-7, 260-pound prospect flashed his power at Comerica Park, going deep in both the fourth and fifth innings of the Tigers’ 5-1 win over the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday night.
Moya admitted he felt a little bit of pressure alleviated after recording his first home run at Kauffman Stadium, which bolstered his confidence in his ability to produce at the major league level.
“After the first one, it was like, ‘OK, I can hit home runs here,’” Moya said. “It feels good. I just try to repeat it over and over and try to get a good pitch to do it. That’s what I try to do.”
Following his solo shot in the fourth inning, Moya showed his range and versatility by going opposite field in the next frame, launching an 83 mph changeup to left field to give the Tigers a four-run lead.
“He’ll go to all fields. That’s not a rarity for him,” manager Brad Ausmus said.
Ausmus is even more impressed by the progress Moya has made on his discipline at the plate, which has previously been a concern for him while down in the minors.
“He’s worked very hard to be more selective in his swings, to lay off pitches outside of the zone, cut down his strikeouts. He’s done a nice job,” Ausmus said. “He had a good year two years ago, kind of a breakout year. Last year was a bit of a down year for him, and this year, he’s picked up right where he was in 2014.”
Moya’s production couldn’t come at a better time for the Tigers. They could have been left reeling in the wake of the injury to Martinez, who led the team last season with 38 home runs.
Regular reps, and the knowledge that he won’t be just shuttling back and forth from Toledo this time around, has been beneficial for Moya, but he insists he doesn’t view this as an audition to prove his value to the organization.
“I think that they already know what I can do,” Moya said. “I don’t have anything to prove. I just have to play and have fun and let God take care of the rest.”