COMSTOCK PARK, Mich. The first thing you notice when you meet West Michigan Whitecaps outfielder Steven Moya is how big he is.
Only 20 years old, Moya is 6-foot-7, 229 pounds.
The Tigers signed Moya as a non-drafted free agent on Oct. 1, 2008, when he was only 16.
Since then, Moya, who was born in Puerto Rico but lives in the Dominican Republic, has made big strides.
In fact, the young outfielder was leading the Single-A Midwest League with a .377 batting average through 19 games before he strained his right hamstring chasing a fly ball in the first inning of the Whitecaps' April 26 game at Quad Cities.
Although he missed 14 games, Moya returned May 11 and continues to lead the team with a .301 average.
Despite the injury, Moya said he's pleased with the way his season is going.
"I can say good," Moya said. "Just working hard and trying to do my best."
Manager Ernie Young said that Moya, who is still learning English, is doing a remarkable job as a young player living far from home.
"Steven's adjustment is pretty good because he's got a pretty good grasp of the language, so he's able to function very good," Young said. "That's the biggest part of the adjustment, the language barrier.
"Steven does a great job of taking his English classes very seriously, which is going to benefit him in the long run as long as he plays baseball."
Moya said it helps to live with a host family.
"I live with an old lady," Moya said. "I have to speak a lot with her. She talks a lot, too. I like it. She teach me a lot of things."
Moya is the oldest of three children. His sisters are 17 and 18. He admitted it is tough to be away from his family and live on his own.
"It's hard because you are far from your family and you have to figure out how you're going to eat. You have to go on your own to the store and ask for your food," Moya said. "Whatever you need, you got to do it alone. You don't have a lot of help.
"You have to work. It's the life. If you want to get to the big leagues, you've got to sacrifice."
Reaching the big leagues is a goal for every minor-league player, and Moya is no different. He said he tries to watch the Tigers as often as the schedule allows.
"I learn from them," Moya said. "(I like) Prince Fielder. I learn from the pitchers, too. I'm trying to learn from everybody. Everybody has something special that they can teach."
However, when asked if he patterns his swing after any particular player, Moya said he did not.
"I'm trying to make my own style," he said.
Moya tries to keep life pretty simple, with very few interests outside of baseball.
"I don't think I have a lot of time free," Moya said. "When I'm back home, I play baseball, too, winter ball. My day off, I just try to read my Bible, talk with God and enjoy the day off, watch movies, that kind of stuff."
Moya said he prefers action movies such as "The Avengers," which he recently saw. His favorite superhero, however, was not in that film.
"He's not in the Avengers, but Superman," Moya said, "because he is very strong and he can do a lot of things."
Superman may be vulnerable to Kryptonite, but Moya has managed to cut down on some of his vulnerabilities.
"It was the curveball," Moya said. "Sometimes, changeup in the dirt, too. But now I just try to let it go, try to take my pitches in my strike zone."