Sunday, August 5, 2007

Farm Hens: Brandon Moss

The Red Sox are set to bring up Brandon Moss to replace Eric Hinske. Hinske will be missing the next several days for personal reasons. Lucky for Moss and the Red Sox, they have had Moss fielding ground balls at first. While he still has a ways to go in defensive abilities at first, he might see some time at there. Not a lot has been talked about in regards to Moss. Personally, i knew very little before writing this. What i did know what he was basically call a bust after two full seasons at Portland and never really shined. But he started off the season at Pawtucket and he has proved all the nay-sayers wrong.

He has all the makings of a good players. When i am evaluating a prospect, i look at four stats, K%, BB%, GB%, and LD%. I feel that those are the most constant when players change levels. They also tell a great deal about how the ball is getting hit and why he would be failing or succeeding. What Moss does great is the LD and GB rates. He doesn't hit many ground balls but hits a good amount of line drives. Line drives land for hits around 75% of the time. So if you are hitting a good deal of them, you should succeed. Ground balls are more often than not going to be outs, so keeping those down are key.

Moss doesn't have amazing strike out and walk rates. He walks about 9% of the time while striking out about 20%, however this year it is all the way up to 25.5%. Walking is a lot more important than striking out, when looking at minor leaguers. Striking out isn't really all that bad, but if a guy never walks that can kill his future. Patience and plate discipline is something a player needs but is often not achievable after leaving the minors. Once a free swinger, always a free swinger.

Looking just at this season, Moss was doing amazing. I said was because since June, he has been back to old Moss. He is hitting for no power at all. As you can see in the chart below, his ISOP has been steadily decreasing for almost two months. For a player trying to be a corner infielder/outfielder, that is not acceptable. Teams need power out of those positions. If Moss can get his SLG% back up to around .500, he will never amount to anything. I think it has been more of bad luck than anything, however. He is hitting a lot more GB's and LD's in July. But his BABIP is some how pretty far down. Maybe he is getting a little tired, but i strongly doubt that is the leading cause. He has good power potential, seven weeks of baseball doesn't change that.

Stats are some of the picture, but clearly not all of it. Scouts actually like Moss a lot. They say he has a great approach to the game and has a good make-up. That is often more important than you would think. If the guy can't hack it mentally, than physically ability often suffers. He is a leader and has shown the ability to perform in the clutch. Last year, Moss was the MVP of the AA playoffs. May seem small, but i love that about him. I think that Moss could come in here and play some good baseball. I doubt he ever plays for the Red Sox, but he will be a good Major Leaguer some day, whether it is here or not.

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