(This ongoing series looks at each player who played with the Braves in 2018 and currently remains in the organization.)
28.1 innings, 4.45 ERA, 5.49 FIP, 17.8% K-rate, 14% walk rate, -0.4 fWAR
2018: Signed shortly after camp started in February, Moylan hit the DL twice with right forearm strains before a setback in late August ended his season. When he did pitch, Moylan’s typical side-winding effective self was missing in action. All of the Moylan categories that he thrives in – control, groundballs, keeping the ball in the park – trended the wrong way.
Contract Details: Moylan is a little less than two months away form his 40th birthday. He was paid $1.2 million in 2018 via a $575,000 base salary and $625,000 roster bonus. He will be an unrestricted free agent after the World Series.
Previewing 2019: At this point, it is unknown if Peter Moylan has made a determination as far as his future goes. Pitching into your 40’s isn’t unheard of, but after a season where he spent pretty much the entire summer on the DL, Moylan might be ready to transition into the next part of his remarkable life – retirement.
Regardless, the Braves are likely going to move on. Moylan’s struggles were well-documented in 2018, but what these struggles could possibly mean – the end of the road – is far more important for Atlanta. Three things stood out immediately about Moylan’s 2018 and it starts with control. His walk rate was 4% higher than the previous season or his career norm. If you look a bit more into the pitch data, according to Baseball Info Solutions, Moylan was in the strikezone just 35.3% of the time. Less strikes meant hitters were not missing the pitches he did leave in the zone. In fact, they connected on 90.2% of swings against pitches in the zone. That’s a dangerous frequency.
With worse command comes the walks, but it also leads to hitters bashing their preferred pitches and not the ones Moylan wants. Hence, his groundball rate was about 10% below normal. To compound this problem, his home run rate doubled. Moylan was successful in 2017 with the Royals because hitters were putting the ball in play with a high amount of soft contact. We didn’t see that in 2018. There’s a good chance we won’t ever see it again from Moylan.
If this is the end for Moylan, he will finish his career with a 3.10 ERA in 499 major league appearances. Not too shabby for a guy who was cut by the Twins back in 1998 and didn’t get another chance state-side until the 2006 World Baseball Classic.
Did you know? Here are some of Moylan’s ranks among Australian pitchers should this be it for his career:
t-1st – number of the years in the majors (12)
3rd – Wins (24)
1st – ERA (3.10)
3rd – Games (499)
3rd – Saves (4)