Logan Moon has made quite the name for himself this year. Filling in for Bubba Starling in RF for the AAA-Omaha Storm Chasers, Moon is hitting .337 with 4 HR in 98 at bats.
Moon, a 6th round draft pick for the Royals back in 2014, had plenty of success in Burlington that year, but has struggled in the two years since being drafted out of Missouri Southern State University. Moon hit exactly .254 in both 2015 with the High-A Wilmington Blue Rocks, and in 2016 with the AA-Northwest Arkansas Naturals. He opened the 2017 campaign in AA again with the Naturals, but was only hitting .245 in 212 at bats. Moon was promoted to AAA-Omaha when Bubba Starling went on the DL with an oblique strain, and has since hit .337 with the Royals AAA affiliate.
I went to high school across town from Logan, and got to watch him play in college too while he was playing for Missouri Southern State University. He's always carried himself with the utmost confidence and professionalism, and I asked him a bit about that and the mentality it takes to succeed playing professional baseball.
"I pretend my family and wife are at every game. My parents raised me to have fun and be myself but also give 100% effort. And confidence is something I still work on daily. It is very easy to let negative thoughts creep into your head after a bad at bat. I will make notes to myself and I believe in self-talk. If you were to watch me closely in the outfield, I am constantly talking to myself. On top of that, my support system is incredible! They help me keep my confidence up when I'm lacking it. My family and friends have always been there for me when I needed a boost. My wife Maddi has been that crutch ever since we started dating. She is my biggest fan."
Having a support system like Moon's must be critical when battling the rigors of a professional baseball season. Perhaps it's made the transition to AAA a bit easier for Moon than one would anticipate. I asked Moon about his success in AAA after having struggled a bit in AA, and Moon had this to say:
"My first day in Omaha, our hitting coach (Tommy Gregg) told me I needed to simplify my swing and my approach. We worked on things in the cage for a couple days and things just started to click. He still works with me every day in the cage and when the game comes around, he tells me to just go hit. I have shortened my swing and I am focusing on using my hands. Approach-wise, I'm just trying to hit line drives. This helps me think less, and I'm better when I'm not thinking!"
Making adjustments as a hitter is a major key to sustaining success in professional baseball. Sometimes, hitters must make adjustments to the pitchers as well as in their own approach. I asked Logan a bit about the difference between the pitching in AA and in AAA.
"I think the pitchers here are better at keeping the ball down in the zone, on the corners of the plate, and are able to throw all of their pitches for a strike. With that being said, if they make a mistake up and over the plate I have to put a good swing on it because that might be the only pitch to drive in the entire at bat."
This is one aspect of Logan's game that I think will make sure he's successful throughout his professional career. He's a very smart hitter that will continue to make adjustments as pitchers make adjustments to him. His newfound success at the AAA level is no fluke. The kid can flat out play baseball. He reminds me a lot of Whit Merrifield. He's going to grind through at bats, work his tail off, and plays stellar defense. Those 3 things will keep a player around for a long time, and it only takes one opportunity in the big leagues to make an impression with a team.
I don't know how Logan falls in the Royals eyes as a potential major league player, but they obviously thought highly of him enough at one point in time to take him in the 6th round. Kansas City may have a hole or two in the OF in 2018 and beyond, and I'll be rooting for Logan to make his mark on the Royals braintrust.