Meet the 2019 Seattle Mariners. Do you even know who they are?
That March 30 game did not sink Dylan Moore or his season.
In just his fifth game in the major leagues, Moore committed three errors in the ninth inning while playing third base. Those miscues did not cost the Seattle Mariners on that night at T-Mobile Park, and went on to beat the Boston Red Sox, 6-5.
Two days later Moore was back at third and played a perfectly clean game. And he did not make another error in the field until June.
The Mariners’ rookie utility player experienced almost everything during the first half of his first season in the majors, even pitching an inning in April in a blowout loss. It was his first time on the mound since his Single-A Hickory days in 2016.
He’s appeared at least once in every position but catcher in the 57 games he’s played in the field. To the Mariners’ delight, he’s rarely looked like a rookie playing any of them, and the maturity the 26-year-old has shown, especially after that rough night with the glove, has stuck with Mariners manager Scott Servais.
“Dylan’s handled everything we’ve thrown at him very well,” Servais said. “If you go back to that one game where he made the errors at third base, a lot of players, that would have really messed them up. It would have been a tough couple weeks.
“A typical guy, you’d ship back to Tacoma, because he can’t get it out of his head. He came in the next day, ‘I’m fine,’ and that says a lot about him, and the role he’s in right now, and probably will be (in). I see him as a really good utility player down the road. I’m not saying he couldn’t be an everyday guy, but on a championship club, I think he fits that role.”
Being a utility player is somewhat new to Moore. He was drafted by the Rangers in 2015 as a shortstop out of UCF, after playing both second and short there. He entered the Brewers’ organization last season as an extra infielder and then ended up picking up some extra duties, too.
“Some guys went down in different spots, and I played well at the different positions, and I got promoted to Triple-A,” Moore said. “They said, ‘Hey, can you play outfield?’ And, I played outfield. There was a need for me at that point, so I put in the work and became what they needed.”
Last season was the first Moore said he played each of the seven infield and outfield positions.
“I just had a willingness to do it, I think,” Moore said. “It’s one of those things (where I said), ‘Oh, yeah, I guess I can do all of them.’ I just put in the work, and I wanted to be able to feel comfortable at all the positions.”
When Moore parted ways with Milwaukee last November, the Mariners scooped him up a week later, and told him he’d immediately have the chance to battle for the major league utility role in spring training. His poise playing each position, paired with a relatively consistent bat, helped him beat out Kristopher Negron for the job.
He’s remained with the big league club for the majority of the season, apart from a brief rehab assignment with Triple-A Tacoma following a wrist injury in May. His versatility has given him staying power with Seattle, even during stretches when doesn’t play as often.
“Sometimes (at-bats) come few and far between,” Moore said. “I want to make every single one count.”
The season has been a whirlwind, Moore said, with as many different positions he’s bounced between, and he knew it would be, but he’s found ways to consistently contribute when he does play — on defense and at the plate. He’s notched six doubles, four homers, 11 RBIs and 14 walks in his 147 plate appearances. He’s batting .197 in irregular time, but has posted a .301 on-base percentage.
“He had consistent at-bats when he was playing short every day, before J.P. (Crawford) came (back from an ankle injury),” Servais said. “We’re getting him in there, and trying to get him in there at least three times a week to keep him going. He’ll figure out a walk, he’ll get a base hit to right field, he hits a home run once in a while.
“He does something in every game he’s out there, which is exactly what you want from a utility guy.”