Moose promoted to Kansas City

Moustakas at his first spring training in 2008

Following the Royals' 3-2 win over the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday afternoon, the organization announced that Mike Aviles will be optioned to Triple-A Omaha, and top prospect Mike Moustakas has been promoted to Kansas City. The 22-year-old third baseman will make his Major League debut in Anaheim on Friday night. Today RC looks back on Moose's minor league career.

In June 2007, the Kansas City Royals selected Chatsworth High School shortstop Mike Moustakas with the second overall pick in the first round of the 2007 draft. The then-18-year-old infielder had committed to play baseball at USC after a tremendous high school career, and his negotiation went right up to the signing deadline. Minutes before the deadline passed, the Royals and Moustakas agreed on a $4 million bonus, and the young slugger headed to Idaho Falls to begin his professional career.

With the Chukars in 2007, Moustakas played in just 11 games, hitting .293/.383/.439 in 41 at bats. The following spring, he was assigned to the Burlington Bees, making his full season debut in the Midwest League.

The club – and Moustakas – got off to a rough start, finishing the first half in the cellar of the Midwest League's West Division at 30-39. At midseason, the Royals moved Moose from shortstop to third base, and the club added some key players for a second half push. It worked, and the Bees went on to claim the second half title with a 43-26 record, eventually winning the 2008 Midwest League Championship. Moustakas anchored the offense, leading the Bees in home runs (22), doubles (25), and RBIs (71) while finishing the season hitting .272/.337/.468 – solid numbers for a teenager making his full season debut in a tough league for hitters.

When 2009 arrived, Moustakas was shipped to Wilmington in the High-A Carolina League, another tough circuit for hitters. The 20-year-old struggled a bit, finishing the season hitting .250/.297/.421 in 492 at bats. He did, however, hit 16 home runs with 86 RBIs, totals that were higher than any Blue Rock in a decade. Nevertheless, his struggles were cause for some concern.

Moose put those concerns to rest in a big way in 2010. The 21-year-old homered twice in his Double-A debut and never looked back. In just 66 games with the Naturals, Moustakas slammed 21 dingers and drove in 76 runs, hitting .347/.413/.687 in 259 at bats. In mid-July, the Royals promoted him to Triple-A Omaha, but even the more advanced Pacific Coast League pitchers were hardly a match for the young slugger.

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Indeed, Moustakas continued his assault in Omaha, hitting 15 more home runs in 225 at bats. Between the two levels, Moose finished a combined .322/.369/.630 with a minor league-best 36 home runs and 124 RBIs. Despite playing in less than half of the Naturals' games, he was named as the 2010 Texas League MVP, in addition to several other post-season honors.

Moustakas returned to Triple-A Omaha this season. Now 22, he had a rough April, hitting just .229 with four home runs and 18 RBIs. Of course, it didn't take him long to get going, and since the beginning of May, the third baseman hit .321 with six home runs, 14 doubles, and 26 RBIs.

When he takes the field in Anaheim on Friday night, Moose will be the eighth Royal to make his big league debut this season. In many ways, his debut is the culmination of much of what Royals general manager Dayton Moore has been working toward since taking the organization's reins in June 2006. Royals fans have long dreamed of a big league lineup that includes homegrown talent like Alex Gordon, Billy Butler, Eric Hosmer, and Mike Moustakas, and on Friday night, that dream becomes reality.

Mike Moustakas Career Statistics

YEAR LEVEL
AB
R
H
2B
3B
HR
RBI
AVG
OBP
SLG
2007 Rookie
41
6
12
4
1
0
10
.293
.383
.439
2008 Low-A
496
77
135
25
3
22
71
.272
.337
.468
2009 High-A
492
66
123
32
2
16
86
.250
.297
.421
2010 2 Teams
484
94
156
41
0
36
124
.322
.369
.630
-- 2010 Double-A
259
58
90
25
0
21
76
.347
.413
.687
-- 2010 Triple-A
225
36
66
16
0
15
48
.293
.314
.564
2011 Triple-A
223
38
64
15
1
10
44
.287
.347
.498
CAREER  
1736
281
490
117
7
84
335
.282
.337
.503

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