September 6, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics first baseman Brandon Moss (37) hits a sacrifice fly to score left fielder Sam Fuld (23, not pictured) against the Houston Astros during the third inning at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
With the departure of Chili Davis as hitting coach, I have begun to speculate if Brandon Moss will be the same player that he has been since 2012. From 2012 through 2014, Chili was Moss’ hitting coach, and it is my understanding that Chili unleashed the power in Moss by having him zone in on pitches, and swing for the fences. It just so happens that those were also the most productive seasons of Moss’ career. With Chili gone, will Moss be able to replicate his past successes?
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Since 2012, Moss has hit 21, 30 and 25 home runs in each season, for a total of 76. In his five years in the majors prior to that, albeit with less playing time, Moss has a combined total of 15 dingers. Moss has also seen his batting average decline from .291 in 2012, then to .256 in 2013, and finally at .236 in 2014.
The 31-year old slugger may be entering a little bit of a decline, and coming off of an injury, it may be wise to err on the side of caution and test the trade market with Brandon Moss.
Regardless of what direction the team is heading in 2015, the Athletics already have a player capable of taking over for Moss. That player? Kyle Blanks. Blanks is three years younger, and made $3M less than Moss in 2014, with that gap in pay likely to rise during arbitration.
While Blanks has yet to prove his value in the majors, that value could be there. Blanks’ best season to date came in 2013, when he had 280 at-bats. He hit 8 home runs and drove in 35, while batting .243. In his time with Oakland, over 45 at-bats, Blanks was hitting .333. Sure it’s a small sample size, but if he hits .250 to .260, it’s a win for the A’s.
By comparison, Brandon Moss’ best season before joining Oakland was in 2009, when he had 424 at-bats (144 more than Blanks) and hit 7 home runs (one less than Blanks) with 41 rbi (just 6 more than Blanks), while batting .236.
Kyle Blanks is now 28, or the same age Brandon Moss was in his breakout 2012 campaign. The A’s could also use a right-handed bat in the middle of their lineup, and with some work, Blanks could be that guy.
If the A’s are looking to adjust their roster for 2015, Moss may be one of the names that gets shopped this winter to rebuild their farm system, or re-tool for one more postseason run.