Oakland Athletics’ first baseman Brandon Moss knows how grueling the major leagues can be, but picking him in your fantasy baseball draft could make things easier on yourself.
He barely makes the cut as a “sleeper” (who must have ADPs lower than 120 by my standards), but Moss is flying under the radar nevertheless, and should be seen as a steal in fantasy drafts.
» Brandon Moss, 1B/OF (current ADP: #129):
It took three-quarters of a decade, but Brandon Moss is finally making an impact in the baseball world.
Moss was taken by the Boston Red Sox in the eighth round of the 2002 Draft, eventually making his first major-league appearance late in 2007.
After seven years in the Sox organization — and not much to show for it — Moss was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates as part of the three-team blockbuster deal that sent Manny Ramirez to the Los Angeles Dodgers and landed Jason Bay in Beantown.
He was immediately inserted into a struggling Pirates’ lineup, but finished out the season batting just .246 with 8 HR and 34 RBI in 76 games with his new team.
After two more unsuccessful years with the Bucs, and a failed five-game stint with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2011, the Oakland A’s decided to take a chance on the then 28-year-old.
Would you expect anything less from Billy Beane?
Signing with the A’s was a godsend for Moss.
His first campaign in the Bay Area was a huge success. Moss belted 21 HR in just 265 at bats. If you’re keeping track at home, that’s one home run per every 12.6 at bats, which would have been first in the league had he gotten the necessary 3.1 plate appearances per game to qualify.
As if there was a need for an encore, Moss provided one in 2013, smashing 30 bombs and driving in 87 runs.
So, at age 30, has he all of a sudden become a good hitter?
Not necessarily. If anything, he’s become a much more aggressive version of his old self, and that’s paying off — for him and for fantasy owners.
In 2008-09, Moss was striking out 22.4 percent of the time, compared to 27.7 percent in 2013. His swinging strike percentage rose from 12.2% to 14.6%. Even his fly ball rate went up from 35.2% to 51.8%.
So you must be asking, “How are those good things? Aren’t strikeouts and fly-ball outs bad?”
In some cases, yes, but in the case of Brandon Moss, no. He was being too passive at the plater earlier in his career. His newfound aggression at the plate has made him a true swing-and-miss power hitter, but that’s also increased his power productivity.
Fantasy owners who select him in drafts should understand this approach. He won’t hit .291 like he did in 2012. That was an anomaly fueled by a .359 BABIP. You draft him for his power and position eligibility, and make sure to always sit him vs. left-handed pitchers (.200/.261/.388 vs. LHP in 2013), something A’s manager Bob Melvin does a pretty good job of already.
2014 Projections: .252/.340/.488, 26 HR, 80 RBI, 75 R, 3 SB
» Missed any of my earlier picks? Please click here for links to all the sleepers I’ve have covered from each team so far.