The 2014 season ended in a split decision for third baseman Mike Moustakas. The glove work was superb and he raked in the playoffs, hitting a franchise record five home runs in a single postseason.
But the regular season was not as good. Moustakas struggled at the plate, finishing the regular season at .212.
The objective for the following season: Work to all fields.
The result was eye-opening. The left-handed hitting Moustakas, previously a dead-pull hitter, improved his average to .284.
Encouragingly, Moustakas’ batting average to the opposite field soared. In balls put in play, Moustakas hit .436 to left or left-center field (34 for 78). A year earlier, his average on those balls was .234.
“I just couldn’t keep hitting .212,” Moustakas said. “I had to make some changes and that was a big one for me.”
The idea now is continued upward mobility. In his fifth season, Moustakas set career bests in batting average, home runs (22), RBIs (76) and on-base percentage (.384).
“I’m going to keep trying to do what I did last year,” Moustakas said. “And get better at it. I’m not going to try and change anything, I just want to continue improving on hitting the ball the other way. That’s where I had most of my success last year.”