Monday, March 4, 2013
Can the A's trust Moss at first?
By Jason Catania
In the wake of trading Chris Carter to the Houston Astros for Jed Lowrie, the Oakland Athletics are planning for ways to help fill the first base-designated hitter role that Carter would have occupied.
Last season, Brandon Moss was a revelation at first, hitting .291 with 21 homers in all of 265 at-bats. Whether the A's can fully trust the 29-year-old, who up until midseason last year was little more than a veteran journeyman, remains somewhat of a question, as John Hickey of MercuryNews.com writes.
Where things get interesting is the club's decision to work out Seth Smith and Michael Taylor, both outfielders, at first base, too, per Susan Slusser of the Chronicle.
Smith hits left-handed, like Moss, but he struggles mightily against them (.572 career OPS). Taylor, on the other hand, bats from the right side, so in theory, the 27-year-old could get a shot this spring to see if he can be a potential backup at first and in the outfield.
The club also has Daric Barton in the first base mix, although he hasn't been productive in the majors since 2010. And the DH spot that's now vacant without Carter around could be inhabited by Smith or Taylor, as well as fellow outfielder Chris Young.
ESPN.com's Eric Karabell gives his take on Moss' fantasy value:
Eric KarabellBreakout year for Moss
"Moss is currently being ignored in most ESPN standard leagues, but we know many of you play in deeper formats. Among hitters with 250 plate appearances, only Miami Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton and Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista bettered Moss' rate of 12.6 at-bats per home run. Only Stanton delivered a higher isolated power average. I'm not saying Moss would have hit like Stanton had he received 500 at-bats, but he certainly seemed to blossom as a power hitter, delivering 36 for the season, the first 15 for Triple-A Sacramento over 51 games, earning his promotion, upon which he smacked six more in his first eight starts."