A charasmatic fellow just trying to make his mark on a major league team, that right there is the epitome of Brandon Moss. Moss has been a Pirates since last year when he was part of the Manny Rameriz-Jason Bay-Andy Laroche 3-way. He wa sthe Red Sox contribution to the Pirates in the deal. He had tremendous upside at the time and is overflowing with potential.
His track record in the minors was second to none. Numerous times he wa snamed player of the week and an All Star in the Red Sox organization. Last year he was promoted to the big league squad in Boston. He was relatively unknown, but still people knew the rookie could be something solid. He showed in his first major league game that he had what it takes to make an impact. Over in Japan for the Red Sox-Athletics opening season game, Moss launched a dinger into the left field seats to the delight of thousands of Japanese fans. It was a moment that Red Sox fans will never forget.
He didn’t even play 50 games in that red uniform. His time in the American League was cut short by the time of his trade to Pittsburgh. He flirted with a .300 batting average, hitting .295 at the time of his July package deal. He had the power to hit homeruns, in fact he hit too. But for a corner outfielder that kind of production needs to be upped. Here in Pittsburgh, fans can agree. At the beginning of the year with Nyjer Morgan solidified in left field. Moss and former Buc Craig Monroe were alternating in a platoon postion. Moss was forced to step up to earn playing time while in the competition with the veteran outfielder. Monroe had good power number belting over ten dingers in spring training. He shined in his at bats with the Bucs too. Moss kept the platoon postion even when Monroe was designated for assignemnt. With the promotion of Garrett Jones and Steve Pearce, Moss was still asked to step it up in lieu of the even more heightened competition.
Today, Moss is getting a start in the outfield every other day or so. He is used as the key pinch hitter and bench player when in need. He did exactly what he was asked to do in last nights game.
He came up to bat in the bottom of the ninth. The Pirates down by one and the Philies looking like their game 2 victory was in the bag. Just a few seconds later this picture was snapped by AP photographer Gene Puskar. It is Moss heading to third base, jogging lightly as he rocked a Ryan Madsen pitch into the left field seats. Very similair to his original dinger over in Japan. Moss tied the game up at one at that point. But just an inning later the Philies’ Ryan Howard would belt a 3-run jack to give Philly a 4-1 win.
Brandon is a great fit in the Pittsburgh clubhouse. he gets along with teammates and has a steep interest in his mates. Moss is an avid hunter from the peach state of Georgia. With a handful of other mid-20’s white guys on the team Moss has a full arsenal of buddies to hunt with. The chemistry of the team is most important to success. When Neil Huntington traded away the kitchen sink at the deadline some believed it would be hard for these new bucs to grasp each other and form a common bond. Just a few days before July 31st, Moss interrupted all the negative talk and hit a walkoff homerun to give the Bucs a win over the Brewers. The jubilation of a walkoff is always fun, especially when times are at their darkest.
It is hard to tell where Brandon will end up in a few years. The Bucs are growing collectively as a team. With Jones, Lastings Milledge and Andrew McCutchen etched as the outfield for at least next year, who knows what Moss’s place will be on the team. He will get some spot starts when Jones plays first base. But with the talent that looks to be coming up within the next few year, Moss may be playing second fiddle once again. Gorkys Hernandez, Jose Tabata and Jeff Clement are all future MLB’ers waiting in the wings. Moss has teh potential, but then again so does everyone else.