Dave Van Horn encouraged by Robert Moore's recent performances at the plate
{{ timeAgo('2022-05-13 11:47:09 -0500') }} baseball Edit

Van Horn encouraged by Moore's recent performances at the plate

Robert Moore has struggled at the plate this season, but has shown signs of snapping out of it lately.
Robert Moore has struggled at the plate this season, but has shown signs of snapping out of it lately. (SEC Media Portal)

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FAYETTEVILLE — No Arkansas player had higher expectations entering this season than Robert Moore. So far, it’s been an underwhelming season for the flashy second baseman.

Listed as a preseason All-American by just about every outlet, including a second-team nod from D1Baseball, the bar was set very high for Moore after a successful sophomore season. Instead, he now finds himself in a tough spot, with his .236 batting average the worst among the Razorbacks’ regular starters.

“It’s good to see that he’s hung in there,” head coach Dave Van Horn said. “He continues to work and that batting average is a number that — sometimes I wish we didn’t have batting averages, but I guess I get it.”

Moore’s stats at the plate are way down from last season. He has five home runs compared to 16 in 2021, his average is nearly 50 points lower and his OPS went from .942 to .799.

There is no question that Moore is a big-league talent in the field at second base. Because of that, he is not going to come out of the lineup.

Van Horn has shifted Moore throughout the lineup over the past few weeks in an attempt to get him going at the plate. Since the Texas A&M series, Moore has hit in the 6-, 5-, 4- and 3-hole, plus leadoff.

Last weekend against Auburn, Moore settled in at the 3-hole spot and seemed to hit the ball better than he has been, including a big three-run home run in Friday’s comeback victory. Van Horn said he likes where Moore is trending.

“He got a big hit or two against Auburn,” Van Horn said. “Hit that three-run homer to give us a big cushion. I feel good about where he’s at.”

Though Moore’s average is not a high number, he has driven in 36 runs and his 32 strikeouts are tied with Michael Turner for second-fewest among the normal starters.

“I like the fact that Robert’s driven in like (36 runs),” Van Horn said. “He’s still helping the team win.”

When Moore hits with runners on base, his average jumps up to .265. That number changes to .266 when he hits with runners in scoring position.

He has the talent and the baseball IQ, so maybe the down year can be attributed to just some bad luck. Van Horn said he thinks Moore has caught a few tough breaks.

“In his defense, here in the last couple of weeks, when he has hit the ball hard it seems like it went at somebody,” Van Horn said. “Two weeks ago at home when he lined out, hit a hard ground ball right at somebody. I think on Friday he hit a ball that no doubt would have been out of the park that would have given us a 2-1 lead. It was caught at the fence because the wind was blowing in 25 mph. That’s the way the game works.”

Van Horn said he has seen Moore get frustrated at times, but the mindset is starting to change and he is beginning to find his groove at the plate.

“I like the way he’s swinging it,” Van Horn said. “I see a little bit more confident hitter at practice and in the games. I think he’s feeling a lot better about it.”

Moore is not the only player in Arkansas’ lineup to struggle this season, but he had a lot of preseason expectations as a potential first-round pick and has struggled to live up to them.

He can change that narrative with a strong showing in the final stretch of the regular season and postseason play, beginning this weekend against No. 24 Vanderbilt. First pitch of Game 1 is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. CT Friday and it will be streamed on SEC Network-Plus.

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