Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 8/30/12

Mitch Moreland is more than just a hot hitter.

The Texas first baseman, who is flirting with a .300 average thanks to a hot August, is also impressing the Rangers with improved defense.

Moreland provided half of the Rangers' offense in an 8-4 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday with a two-run homer -- his third homer in the last eight games -- one night after he preserved a win with a pair of sharp defensive plays.

With the bases loaded in what was a scoreless game Tuesday, Moreland stopped Jose Lobaton's fourth-inning bouncer and started an inning-ending double play with a strong throw. The Rangers took the lead in the bottom of the inning.

In the eighth, with the tying run aboard, Moreland reacted quickly to stop and scoop Ben Zobrist's low liner, taking away extra bases.

"He's really improving," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "He's getting there. He deserves a ton of credit for it. His hands are better because he's improved his footwork. He's quicker on his feet, and he's moving better laterally. He is trusting his instincts."

According to one defensive metric, Moreland ranks as the fourth-best-fielding first baseman in the majors this season among those with at least 500 innings at the position.

According to Fangraphs.com, Moreland has an Ultimate Zone Rating per 150 games of 7.8 runs saved above average. A year ago, Moreland's UZR per 150 was just 1.3. The stat is an attempt to give a full picture of a player's defensive contributions. He ranks behind only Adrian Gonzalez, Mark Teixeira and James Loney. The trio has combined for seven Gold Glove awards.

MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
Five most anticipated September MLB call-ups
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Wentz unlikely to see any playing time this season

Minnesota Wild names Prince’s ‘Let’s Go Crazy’ official goal song

Gabby Douglas joining judges for Miss America pageant

Recruit decommits from Michigan after mail mistake

Dez Bryant reportedly suffers concussion at practice

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Kobe Bryant to be honored with his own day in LA on 8/24

Colts sign Antonio Cromartie

Connor McDavid: 'I’m not some 18-year-old kid anymore'

Aguayo seeks out mental coach after missing kicks

Josh Norman unloads on Goodell: He is 'straight horrible'

Siemian named Broncos starter for third preseason game

One Gotta Go: NFL legends (and Jose Canseco!) have no love for Captain America

Four WNBA teams to pay attention to post-Olympic break

Ranking the uniforms of the NFL from worst to best

Madden 17 shows how vital a fresh coat of paint can be

Why people just can't get behind the Washington Nationals

Washington's Josh Norman speaks candidly about multiple NFL talking points

Derrick Rose: Knicks have chance to win every game

Ranking the MLB divisional races

Inside the Pokemon World Championships, where masters are born

NFL players under most pressure in preseason Week 3

Tre Mason's mother: RB is like '10-year-old' due to head injuries

What we learned from this year's baffling SummerSlam event

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

One Gotta Go: NFL legends (and Jose Canseco!) have no love for Captain America

Ranking the uniforms of the NFL from worst to best

Four WNBA teams to pay attention to post-Olympic break

Madden 17 shows how vital a fresh coat of paint can be

Why people just can't get behind the Washington Nationals

QUIZ: Name every player to win a championship with Kobe Bryant

Inside the Pokemon World Championships, where masters are born

What we learned from this year's baffling SummerSlam event

Football Down Under: Looking back at college football overseas

31 memories from the XXXI Olympiad

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker