The journey can finally begin.
Ty Moore spent countless hours working toward a career in professional baseball – and a few restless days during the Major League Draft – but the opportunity is finally at the feet of the former Mater Dei star.
Moore was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 12th round out of UCLA last week and will soon be off to hot and humid Bradenton, Fla. to play in the Gulf Coast League, or perhaps along the banks of the Monongahela River in Granville, W.Va., one rung higher on the organization’s minor league ladder.
Where he lands won’t really matter to Moore. Put a bat in his hands, a helmet over his head and give him a baseball to crush and the outfielder is right at home.
“I’m a hitter,” Moore said. “I’ve always been a hitter. I hit in high school, I hit in college, I hit in the Cape Cod League and I’m going to do my best to hit for the Pirates.”
Moore was born in Irvine, raised in Mission Viejo and made a name for himself at Mater Dei. He was a four-year varsity player for the Monarchs and his accomplishments could cover a wall inside their massive gymnasium.
He was the Trinity League most valuable player as a junior and senior, earning Orange County Register player of the year honors in those 2011 and 2012 seasons. He hit .510 as a junior with a school record 51 hits in 30 games and posted a 10-2 record on the mound. As a senior, he hit .406 with a 12-2 mark and 0.83 ERA.
Following his senior season, he was recognized as the Gatorade California Player of the Year.
Not long after, Moore received his first experience with the scientific nature of the MLB draft, where stats and awards are meaningless compared to an athlete’s height, weight and his reading on a radar gun.
Moore waited until the third day of the draft, the 25th round overall, to hear his name. He thanks the New York Yankees but declined their offer and soon headed to UCLA, knowing draft rules would make him wait another three years before he was again draft-eligible.
Moore made an impact right from the start as an outfielder for the Bruins, helping them reach the College World Series as a freshman. He started all 56 games as a sophomore and led the team in runs (28) and doubles (14) while hitting .294.
He again started all 61 games for UCLA last season, upping his average to a team-high .342 while blasting six home runs and driving in 51 runs.
UCLA’s season ended June 1 when the Bruins were eliminated from a four-team regional, leaving Moore with a week to wrap up schoolwork and then soak in the draft.
Moore was crossing his fingers, hoping he’d be taken on the first day – when the first two rounds are held – but was more optimistic he’d hear his name on the second day, during rounds 3-10.
But when both days passed and he wasn’t selected, Moore began feeling the same uneasiness he felt three years earlier. Fortunately, he was spared a grueling long wait on the third day; he was selected in the middle of round 12.
“The last couple days have definitely been stressful, very nerve-wracking after going through it in high school,” Moore said about six hours after he was drafted. “But I knew anything could happen, so it was definitely exciting.”
Let the journey begin.