Moustakas' debut a smashing success

Slugger rips two home runs to begin stint at Double-A

Mike Moustakas was a first-round Draft pick in 2007. (Northwest Arkansas Naturals)

By Dan Tomasino / Special to | April 22, 2010 7:55 PM ET

Mike Moustakas didn't waste much time before making an impact at Double-A Northwest Arkansas. In fact, the second overall pick in the 2007 Draft didn't waste any time -- he homered in the first at-bat of his debut on Thursday night.

He homered again in the third inning and ripped an RBI double in the sixth of the Naturals' 11-0 rout of Arkansas. Moustakas finished 3-for-4 with a walk and three runs scored. The 21-year-old couldn't have asked for a better introduction to the Texas League.

"It was a lot of fun," said Moustakas, who batted third in the lineup. "The whole team played well. Our starting pitcher Edgar Osuna pitched a great game for us, and that made the job easy for our hitters."

Osuna earned his second win of the year with seven scoreless innings, taking the mound after Moustakas' first- inning blast, a two-run shot to center field. Moustakas made it a 3-0 advantage with his second homer.

Arkansas starter Jeremy Thorne walked Moustakas to lead off the fifth and Moustakas was retired in the seventh when he grounded out to first base.

The Naturals blew the game open with a six-run sixth inning. Johnny Giavotella singled home a run before Moustakas' double to push the lead to 5-0. Manuel Pina then hit a grand slam.

Moustakas, ranked No. 32 on's Top 50 Prospect list, would have begun the season with the Naturals if not for an oblique strain that sidelined him from mid-March through the first week of April. He spent that time rehabbing with the Royals' extended spring training program in Surprise, Ariz.

Now that Moustakas is back on the field, he is focused on fine-tuning his game.

"Just [working on] pitch selection," he said. "Working the count. Continue to drive the ball the opposite way. My defense at third base. I'm still trying to learn as much as I can."

Moustakas isn't jumping too far ahead just yet.

"I would like to win a championship this year at Double-A," he said. "There are a lot of things we [as players] can't control, so we don't look too far into the future. I've played with pretty much every single guy on this team. It's a great group of guys, very close-knit, laid-back and we have a lot of fun playing together."

Moustakas led the Midwest League with 22 home runs in 2008, and he was a 2009 Midseason All-Star for Wilmington in the Class A Advanced Carolina League.

Dan Tomasino is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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