Diamond in the Rough: The Brandon Moss Story


Throughout this amazing 2012 season for the A’s, there were countless stories of redemption, perseverance and players defying the odds.  As the offseason rolls on, we’ll continue to examine the numerous members of the 2012 A’s who fit the bill.

One of the most unlikely, and at the same time spectacular cases is that of Brandon Moss.  Many might remember Moss as the guy who homered of Huston Street in the top of the 9th inning in Japan to give the Boston Red Sox the lead in the season opener of the 2008 season.  He didn’t accomplish much for the Red Sox beyond that, and he was dealt to the Pittsburgh Pirates as part of the massive Manny Ramirez to the Dodgers/Jason Bay to the Red Sox trade at the 2008 trade deadline.

Moss would flounder a bit with the Pirates over parts of 3 seasons, hitting just .228/.295/.373 in 628 plate appearances.  After the 2010 season he was let go by the Pirates, signed on with the Philadelphia Phillies.  He only managed to get into 5 games with the Phillies, 6 plate appearances and nothing to show for it.  He moved on once again after 2011, and that’s when Billy Beane and the A’s came calling.

When he was signed it was an afterthought at best.  More than likely he would be used as organizational depth, playing almost exclusively for the Sacramento Rivercats, only getting to Oakland if all other options had been exhausted.  But something clicked in Sacramento for Moss.  Since he first reached the Triple A level he was always productive, but in Sacramento he took it to a different level.  He was displaying power numbers that were on the upswing, and the A’s were lacking in that department.  So they brought him to Oakland.

September 29, 2012; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics first baseman Brandon Moss (37) hits the game-winning three-run home run during the 10th inning against the Seattle Mariners at O.co Coliseum. The Athletics defeated the Mariners 7-4. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE

Moss hit 6 home runs in his first 9 games with the A’s, including a monster series in Colorado against the Rockies with 4 of those homers.  It seemed clear that the A’s might have something with Moss, perhaps he had figured out finally how to hit Major League pitching.  He did cool off, as any hitter will, and for a time it seemed like he had lost his stroke.  For most players like Moss, who’ve struggled just to stay in the show this might be an obstacle they are unable to overcome.  But Moss did overcome.  As the A’s came down the home stretch of the pennant race in their quest for October baseball, Moss hit .369/.433/.690 over the final 26 games of the regular season as the A’s took the AL West from the Texas Rangers.

What had been a position of great need for the Athletics in the power department seems like may be set for the coming years.  Moss may be 29 years old, but his service time is incredibly low and Moss is under team control through 2016.  There’s no telling where his career will go from here in terms of production, but his raw power is not a mirage and he should be able to continue to hit for power like he did in 2012.  And with many other power sources like Josh Reddick, Yoenis Cespedes, and Chris Carter along with Josh Donaldson as well Moss won’t be under pressure to duplicate his power numbers.  So he probably will.