Cincinnati Reds: 2 key statistics for Mike Moustakas moving forward in 2021

PHOENIX, ARIZONA - APRIL 10: Mike Moustakas #9 of the Cincinnati Reds prepares for a game. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, ARIZONA - APRIL 10: Mike Moustakas #9 of the Cincinnati Reds prepares for a game. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) /

None of the Cincinnati Reds‘ hitters could solve Luke Weaver yesterday, as the team left Arizona with two straight losses and record of 6-3. However, one player who’s quietly put together a fantastic start the 2021 season is third baseman Mike Moustakas.

It’s easy to look at Moustakas’ stat line and see that the 32-year-old is off to a hot start. But beyond the 1.028 OPS, there’s a pair of statistics that are vitally important for both Moustakas and the Reds moving forward; strikeout-rate and walk-rate.

Reds third baseman Mike Moustakas has struck out just three times this season.

Heading into yesterday’s game, Mike Moustakas had struck out just once during the 2021 season. After Luke Weaver dispatched Cincinnati’s lineup in order through five-plus (only a hit-by-pitch broke up Weaver’s perfect game), the Reds finally broke through with a base hit in the top of the seventh inning.

Moustakas, who now has three punch outs on the young season, has a strikeout-rate of 8.3%. Heading into the season, that number was hovering around 16%. According to FanGraphs ZIPS projections, Moose was predicted to have a K-rate of 18.4%, just off his career-worst from last season (22.1%).

An even bigger number to keep an eye on as the season progresses is Moustakas’ walk-rate. Currently, that number is sitting at 19.4%. That’s approaching Joey Votto territory. In fact, Votto’s best walk-rate came in 2015 when his BB-rate was 20.6%.

Can Mike Moustakas keep up this torrid pace for the Reds?

We saw yesterday, after striking out twice and not drawing a single free pass, that it may be wishful thinking for Mike Moustakas to continue at this torrid pace. But, if by season’s end, Moose is able to have a moderate improvement from his career numbers in these two areas, there’s a good chance the Cincinnati Reds will be sitting pretty in September.

We’ve seen in the early going that the trio of Nick Senzel, Jonathan India, and Tucker Barnhart have the potential to be run producers for the Reds in 2021. In order for that to happen, those players in the middle of the batting order need to get on-base.

For his career, Moustakas has a on-base percentage of just .312. So far this season, Moose’s OBP is sitting at .472. That’s over 100 points better than his career-high (.348) set in 2015. Again, I don’t expect Moustakas to put up an on-base percentage of .400-plus, but if he can surpass the projected .333, he’ll continue to lead the Reds in runs scored (9).

Next. Barnhart's bat could force the Reds into a corner

Throughout the majority of his career, Mike Moustakas has been a run-producing, power bat in the middle of the lineup. But, with the offensive firepower present on this year’s Reds team, cutting down on his strikeouts and increasing the number of walks will go a long way towards Cincinnati’s success in 2021.