Billy Beane is known for making rather shrewd moves, to the point that it is almost expected of him. Whether it’s taking a player whose value is about to decline and turn him into a package of prospects, or if it’s picking a player up off the MLB scrap heap and putting him into a situation where he can succeed. There is no better example of the minor league contract handed out to Brandon Moss before the 2012 season.
Moss’ story is fairly well known, he was a good prospect coming up in the Boston Red Sox organization and never really found his stroke there. He was dealt to Pittsburgh, then onto Philadelphia where he continued to struggle. He was on a trajectory to be the dreaded “quad-A” player who could excel in the minors but never have success at the big league level. When he was signed by the Athletics it was with almost no fanfare whatsoever. Only those who closely followed the Athletics were even aware of the transaction in the first place.
Moss was brought in as organizational depth, but his performance with the River Cats earned him a call up to the Athletics. Moss caught fire, and helped lead the team to its shocking AL West division title. Fast forward to 2013, Moss was solidified as the team’s starting first baseman, but there were many who expected a regression back to the career minor leaguer status he had appeared headed for previously.
For most of the season Moss has been inconsistent, the power had remained but he hadn’t been able to put together a prolonged hot streak like he did in 2012. As the strikeouts began to pile up, and the home runs weren’t following suit, more doubts began to head his way. Then something clicked with Moss during a batting practice session recently. Noticing that he had been out in front of many pitches, he opened up his stance a bit more and suddenly his timing was dead on. We all saw what happened in the four games versus the Tigers, Moss was launching home runs all over the ballpark, making the sizable Comerica Park look like a bandbox.
He now leads the team with 25 home runs, and has stepped up during a down offensive period for the A’s when they really needed a spark. With the underperformance of Josh Reddick and Yoenis Cespedes this season, Brandon Moss has certainly done his part alongside Josh Donaldson to help fill the void. He may need to continue his hot streak through the end of the season if the A’s wish to return to the playoffs, he did it last year, and there’s no reason to think he can’t do it again in 2013.