30 March 2005

Brandon Moss, RF

BRANDON MOSS | OF | 6' 0" | 180 | 20 yrs | B: L | T: R

Brandon Moss, a 20 year old OF, was drafted in the 8th round of the 2002 draft by the Boston Red Sox out of Loganville HS in Monroe, GA. Born in 1983, Moss has thus far seen time up the ladder of A ball, starting with the Gulf Coast League Red Sox, then the Lowell Spinners, Augusta Green Jackets, and Sarasota Sox. Here is a scouting report from SoxProspects.com:

Athletic outfielder with a good arm. Excellent approach at the plate - good swing with a raw power. Moss is a competitor. He didn't show much at the plate in his first two professional seasons, but put in a good amount of work in the off-season prior to 2004, producing an utstanding 2004 season in all respects.

Here are his numbers from his time in the Red Sox organization:


Also, SoxProspects.com reports the following awards for Moss in his minor league career:

  • 2004 SoxProspects.com Player of the Year

  • 2004 Augusta GreenJackets Player of the Year

  • 2004 South Atlantic League MVP

  • 2004 SAL Post-Season All-Star

  • Florida State League Player of the Week (8.22.04)

  • 2004 Red Sox Minor League Player of the Month (July)

  • South Atlantic League Player of the Month (July 2004)

  • 2004 South Atlantic League All Star

  • 2004 South Atlantic League All Star Game MVP

  • 2004 Red Sox Minor League Player of the Month (May)

  • 2004 Baseball America Low-A Midseason All-Star

  • On BaseballAmerica.com, Moss ranks as the 2nd best prospect in the Red Sox system:

    1. Hanley Ramirez, ss

    2. Brandon Moss, of

    3. Jon Papelbon, rhp

    4. Jon Lester, lhp

    5. Anibal Sanchez, rhp

    6. Dustin Pedroia, ss

    7. Luis Soto, ss

    8. Kelly Shoppach, c

    9. Abe Alvarez, lhp

    10. Manny Delcarmen, rhp

    In addition, BA rates Moss as the organization's best "Hitter for Average" prospect.

    While shortstop Hanley Ramirez remains the organization's lone elite prospect, other farmhands are knocking on the door of achieving that status. After batting .226 in his first two pro seasons, outfielder Brandon Moss was the low Class A South Atlantic League MVP and hit .422 in the high Class A Florida State League during August.

    They also put Moss as the 72nd (out of 100) best prospect in baseball:

    "He's refined his overall approach at the plate and really worked hard to become a better hitter."

    --Red Sox farm director Ben Cherington

    From Jim Callis, in a chat on Red Sox prospects:

    Q: Bob from Winthrop asks:
    Thanks for the chat. Does Brandon Moss after one great year deserve to be ranked higher than Mickey Hall and David Murphy?

    A: Jim Callis: You know my answer is "yes," because I put Moss at No. 2 on this list. He could be a solid right fielder who hits .300 with 20-25 homers per year. Hall and Murphy haven't proven they have that kind of bat yet.

    David Laurila interviewed Jim Callis from BA as well, and he had the following to say about Moss:

    RSN: How do you currently rate the Boston farm system, and where might it be next year given the extra picks the team has in the upcoming draft?

    JC: When our Prospect Handbook comes out (any day now), the Red Sox will be 21st in our organization talent rankings. That's the highest we've had them since the beginning of the 2000 season, when they also ranked 21st. The Red Sox have a chance to jump significantly up the rankings this year, not only because they have a lot of draft picks but also because a lot of their best prospects have proven themselves only at the lower levels. If guys like Brandon Moss, Jon Papelbon, Jon Lester, Anibal Sanchez and Co. continue to develop like they did in 2004, the system will look a lot better.

    RSN: Brandon Moss emerged as a top prospect last year. Compare him to David Murphy, who went into last season with higher expectations.

    JC: They're different types of players. Murphy is more well-rounded and the Red Sox still hope he can play center field. His year was ruined by a foot injury in May, and I think you just have to give him a mulligan for 2004. Moss surged past Murphy with his bat last year, and I think he'll produce for more average and more power than Murphy down the road.

    RSN: Last one. Are there any players in the system you see having breakout seasons, or simply emerging as legitimate prospects?

    JC: We discussed Moss, and I think he's the biggest breakout candidate. Willy Mota has a huge ceiling, though he's still very raw. From the pitching side, bonus baby Mike Rozier could make a big impression after sitting out last summer while negotiating.

    The Minor's First has a Top 100 list, and Moss is their #79:

    79. Brandon Moss- OF Bos (9/16/83) It took Moss a little while to get accustomed to pro pitching… he toiled for 2 years in short season leagues before breaking out in 2004. I usually question the futures of players that just all of a sudden burst onto the scene, but Moss looked really good all season and he looks poised to get even better.

    Wait Til Next Year rates Moss #55 in their Top 100:

    Color me undecided on Brandon Moss’ prospect status, thus his conservative placement out of the top fifty. I considered entire exclusion once upon a time, but his yearly averages are too high to ignore. Guys seldom go from trying to break the .700 OPS mark in the NYPL to batting titles in low-A, but Brandon Moss is not a ‘normal’ prospect.

    Looking at his statistics, my first knock on Moss would be his dependency on average to boost his slugging. He has a lot of room left to be desired in ISO, being .176 in the Sally League, and just .120 in his ‘stellar’ Florida State League promotion. But things are not always as they appear, and even his average could draw the shaky label. Thanks to the Hardball Times, I can tell you that the 2004 AL BABIP average was .303. Moss was ridiculously higher, sporting a .381 BABIP in low-A and (gasp!) .493 in high-A. Given the same number of plate appearances with a .303 BABIP, Moss would have hit just .276 in low-A, and down to .269 in Sarasota. And that slugging wouldn’t smell .500.

    But again, I think there is more than meets the surface here. Moss is apparently a line-drive hitter, and it’s been said (Studes) that line drives help boost BABIP. And there is no questioning Moss’ ability to put pressure on the defense, since his worst month featured just a 20.5 K%. His contact skills are apparent, as flukes could not cause 14-game hitting streaks upon arrival to the FSL. They would have at least one of his monthly averages under .300 (lowest was .317 in July). And he probably would have issues trying to match multi-hit games (64) with not (68). Those, my friends, are notable feats.

    In conclusion, I ask the jury to stay in deliberation in sentencing Moss’ future. Time will tell if Moss becomes a martyr for the BABIP movement, or the man to prove the importance of LD%.

    On John Sickels's Minor League Ball, in ranking the Sox top 20 prospects, puts Moss at number 3: "Papelbon and Moss also took major steps forward last year, Moss in particular although some are still skeptical about his long-term power potential."

    1. Hanley Ramirez, SS, A-

    2. Jon Papelbon, RHP, B+

    3. Brandon Moss, OF, B+

    4. Anibal Sanchez, RHP, B

    5. Jon Lester, LHP, B

    Moss should be an interesting test case this season- if he continues to produce like he did in 2004, he'll quickly be viewed as an elite prospect. The conservative leaning on his appraisal though seems to be based on a couple factors- first, his almost-out-of-nowhere explosion of a season in 2004. Often times, this is the type of prospect to hedge one's bets on, naturally.

    Next, a lot has been made over his BABIP, which is unnaturally high and, while it's certainly possible a lot of that can be attributed to his being a hard line-drive hitter (and that leads into the third point), high BABIP are at a high probability of "fluke-i-ness," ie, it'll be tough for him to maintain it.

    Last, some concern has been shown over his ultimate potential power-wise. If that progresses or not remains to be seen, but some early comps have come in with Darin Erstad, a guy who's offense a corner OF with defense inferior to Erstad's can't carry on a championship team. That remains to be seen.

    Looking forward to Brandon and since Sox Prospects projects him to start the season in AA Portland, I'm looking forward to checking out the Sea Dogs this year, as it looks like they'll be carrying many of the more interesting Sox prospects (Hanley Ramirez, Dustin Pedroia, Jon Papelbon, Jon LesterMoss and possibly a promoted Anibal Sanchez/ Manny Delcarmen). Look forward to Wednesdays for Brandon Moss updates.

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