Tampa Bay Rays rookie pitcher Matt Moore earned the 52nd annual J.G. Taylor Spink award as the Topps/Minor League Player of the Year, it was announced Monday. Moore, 22, split his 2011 minor-league season between the Class-AA Montgomery Biscuits and AAA Durham Bulls. In 27 combined starts at both levels, Moore compiled a 12-3 record and a 1.92 earned run average, striking out a whopping 210 batters in 155 innings.
The left-hander made his major-league debut on Sept. 14 against the Baltimore Orioles, giving up three hits and two earned runs in 1.1 innings. Eight days later, against the American League East-leading New York Yankees, Moore made his first career start and earned a victory. He struck out 11 through five innings, yielding just four hits and one walk to New York.
However, Moore's best big-league moment came in the postseason. Starting Game 1 of the American League Division Series against the Texas Rangers, Moore threw seven innings of shutout baseball, allowing two hits, two walks, and striking out six batters in Tampa Bay's 9-0 win.