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Is Mike Moustakas breaking out? Who cares, just enjoy this

The Royals will take all the quality Moose they can get in October and worry about 2015 later.

Patrick Smith

SB Nation 2014 MLB Bracket

Mike Moustakas had a terrible 2014 season. He was demoted to Triple-A in late-May while he was the owner of a .152/.223/.320 line, and while he was better after his recall, describing his performance with any positive adjectives would be misleading: Moustakas hit just .235/.289/.377 in the 100 games he appeared in after returning to Kansas City. He was still the team's third baseman in part because the Royals continued to believe there was talent there, but also because there weren't any other viable options. Third base is something of a wasteland in baseball right now, with a few stars wading in an otherwise shallow talent pool.

None of that matters much in this moment. Moustakas hit his fourth postseason home run on Saturday in Game 2 of the ALCS against the Orioles -- the most he had hit in an entire month in 2014 was five, in July, and that took 22 games. He's hit .318/.348/.864 in his six postseason games. He had an extra-inning, game-winning home run in Game 1 of the ALDS against the Angels, another extra-inning blast in Game 1 of the ALCS ... and it's hard to imagine he's the same guy who was scuffling at the plate not just in 2014, but in the three years prior as well.

The reality of the situation is that Moose probably still is the same guy. It's hard to believe that a switch flipped for him once the calendar turned to October -- remember that Moustakas batted .247/.287/.296 in September, with the only real difference between that and his other bad months being that he failed to go deep at all instead of just a few times. You don't want to read about that, though, not right now. Whether Moustakas is going to be a key piece of the Royals going forward or not is irrelevant in this moment, where he's been a huge piece for a team that can use all the offensive help it can get as it attempts to make it to its first World Series since 1985. Thanks to Moustakas' first two games in the ALCS, as well as his previous postseason play which helped bring them here to begin with, they just might pull it off.

There will be time to worry about whether finding a new starting third baseman makes sense, or to see if Moustakas finally did figure something out. Moose was a highly touted prospect whom the Royals rushed to the majors at 22, a player who never quite figured out the right way to be aggressive. Pitchers have eaten him alive for it for four years now: while he doesn't strike out overly much, he consistently fails to put quality contact on pitches, resulting in weak, fieldable opportunities for his opponents. It's why his batting average on balls in play has been a mess for his entire career -- the league average is usually in the .290-.300 range, but Moose is at .260 for his career. He doesn't have enough power or patience to make up for losing all that potential batting average from his line from the start.

Given the way he's been hitting these past couple of weeks, maybe he finally has turned a corner. Maybe these pitches he's launching into the stands are ones he realized he can do something with, and he has forced his opponents to throw them in the first place by resisting pitches he would have swung at in the past. Six games is too small of a time frame to know for sure, which is why it's not a question anyone should try to answer now, or even want to. Enjoy Moustakas doing what the front office and Royals fans always hoped he would be in a position to do. Enjoy Moustakas mashing homers and picking up key hits, contributing something to the team besides just his glove at the hot corner. Enjoy it while it lasts, because as with most things in baseball, who knows how long that'll be. Flags fly forever, though, and thanks to Moose, the Royals are just a couple of games from flying a new one.