A's camp: Moss explains 2012 breakout 

March, 4, 2013
3/04/13
11:27
AM ET
PHOENIX -- While Yoenis Cespedes, Coco Crisp and Josh Reddick deserved much of the credit for the rejuvenated Oakland Athletics' offense last season, journeyman first baseman/outfielder Brandon Moss finished as the team's fourth most valuable hitter, according to ESPN's Player Rater, hitting .291 with 21 home runs. Moss accomplished this in a mere 265 at-bats, while forming an effective platoon with Chris Carter, but with Carter having been dealt to the Houston Astros, Moss figures to play more, with perhaps even better numbers pending.

"I'm certainly capable of hitting 30 home runs, no question," Moss told me in the Oakland clubhouse a few minutes after blasting a home run to center field in Saturday's 6-3 spring training win over the Colorado Rockies. "While I think we'll be even better as a team, my personal goal is to be productive, someone the team relies on. There's just no way to put a number on home runs or batting average. The game is too finicky."

[+] EnlargeBrandon Moss
AP Photo/Kathy KmonicekBrandon Moss is owned in only 2.9 percent of ESPN standard leagues.
While Moss is confident he can keep improving, the fantasy community seems awfully skeptical. Heck, I've been a bit skeptical, too, but perhaps the situation should be viewed optimistically. Now 29, Moss is a .251 career hitter over parts of six seasons with the Boston Red Sox, Pittsburgh Pirates, Philadelphia Phillies and now the Athletics, but he wouldn't be the first fellow to develop later than most as a hitter. A left-handed batter, the Athletics got the most out of him against right-handed pitching (19 of his 21 home runs, 1.006 OPS), but with Carter gone and no obvious platoon partner on the roster, more than 500 at-bats should be pending for Moss. Is this a good thing or a bad thing for fantasy owners? Well, Moss hit .293 off southpaws in 2012, though in only 58 at-bats. His career numbers would suggest a platoon makes more sense, but those numbers might not tell us much, either.