Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Yeah I get it, baseball players need their time off to relax and enjoy some family time. Still, the offseason is so agonizing! If you’re anything like me, you probably spend sometime every day scavenging through Google and sports app to get your fix of Oakland A’s news. You also probably watch Moneyball every week and recite every line along with the movie, but that’s besides the point. Don’t you hate when you enter “Oakland A’s” in that Google search engine and all you see is articles you already read last week? I know I do. That’s why I decided to start a new column called “The A’s Player of the Day” in which I review an player’s 2013 stats and their impact and then predict what we can expect from them in 2014. To start things off, we’re going to look at the always friendly Brandon Moss.
In 2013, Brandon Moss continued on his success from the previous season. He hit 30 homeruns, had a .256 average, and had 114 hits. That all resulted in him driving in 87 runs. Considering that just two seasons ago he was just another average minor league player, this is quite impressive. Moss was a late bloomer, and there’s no better place for a player bloom to their full potential than in Oakland. He not only showed that he could be a huge help in the lineup, but that he can also adjust when needed.
Moss hit a slump in the middle of the season, so as is usual for struggling players, he was given a few games off to work on his issues. Some players come out stronger and some just lose it. Moss definitely came out stronger. During his time off, he was hard at work with hitting coach Chili Davis. A combination of commitment and adaptability from moss, and the wisdom of the great Chili Davis resulted in an amazing increase of production for Moss. The numbers speak for themselves. Before the all-star break, his average was .228. When we look at his numbers after the all-star break, we see an outstanding increase to a .296 average.
Despite striking out 140 times in 2013, Moss proved that he is extremely effective whenever he does happen to make contact with the ball.
Moss was originally an outfielder, however as is A’s custom with a lot of it’s players, he was eventually converted to a different position, first base. This made Moss a huge defensive asset when there were holes in the outfield. Reddick was injured part of the season and he also struggled offensively the entire season. Chris Young struggled the entire season as well since he could not adjust to being a platoon player instead of playing every day. Crisp also had a few trips to the DL in the season. Combine all that together and you get a golden opportunity for Moss to prove he’s more than a platoon first basemen. Moss filled in the outfield and did a decent job. This also allowed Bob Melvin to have Moss in the same lineup with his platoon counterparts on first base; Nate Freiman and Daric Barton. His time in the outfield gave the A’s even more options than they already had.
Moss’s primary position is first base. He played a very solid first base. Sometimes it felt like people around the league knew more about his chatty ways at the bag than his defensive skills. If you watched games often you could often times see Brandon Moss chatting away with a smile on his face as he stands there waiting for the next play. But he was still a good first basemen. He was part of 52 double plays, had 8 errors, 48 total assists, and led the team with 719 putouts. He was a steady first basemen who could also play outfield. Overall, his defense was above average in the 2013 season.
Brandon Moss has room to grow despite recently reaching his 30’s. I expect that he will become an everyday player and that he will not have to be in a platoon role as much due to the fact that the infield has become more crowded with the addition of Nick Punto. With Donaldson and Lowrie Producing as much as they did in 2013 and Callaspo along with Nick Punto both being utility role players in the infield, Barton and Freiman will likely end up being the odd men out. They will only see playing time if Moss is injured or in the outfield. Moss will have a slight increase in his 2014 season, and thanks to Chili Davis, even if I’m wrong we won’t have to worry about the offense of Moss.
I expect that we will end up seeing Moss everyday at first base, against both lefties and righties on the mound. You won’t see him much in the outfield though because Craig Gentry has been added to roster, and he is a great outfielder defensively. Add that to an already scary trio in Cespedes, Crisp, And Reddick (assuming he returns to his 2012 form).
Brandon Moss may not have the all-star stats or recognition as other players like Cabrera or David Ortiz, but he has proven that he is just as much of an impact on our team as those guys are to their respective team.