Lakewood Spotlight: Tim Moss

For a while, it looked like Tim Moss wasn't going to put up the kind of production that the Phillies had hoped for. It looked like Moss would go down in history as one of those players who just weren't meant to make it. Not that it was his fault, though. Injuries and health issues seemed to crop up all along his path, but he just took it all in stride and is definitely becoming what the Phillies thought that he would be.

"I just relied on a lot of prayer." That's how Lakewood BlueClaws' second baseman Tim Moss made it through a rough 2003 season and one injury after another. "It was frustrating, but I just had to keep looking at the positives," admitted Moss.

In his debut season, there weren't a lot of positives. The adjustment to professional ball was tough and Moss was only able to muster a .150 batting average in 43 games at Batavia. Then, this spring, a routine physical revealed that Moss had high blood pressure. It was high enough that the Phillies benched Moss from taking part in practice with his teammates. Late in camp, he was cleared to play and the Phillies made the decision to promote him to Lakewood, rather than have him wait for the season to start in Batavia.

Moss' addition to the Lakewood roster was welcomed, not only because of the promotion, but because it kept him together with Javon Moran and Michael Bourn. Moss, Moran and Bourn were all drafted in rapid succession in the 2003 Draft. They were the three speed musketeers. The Phillies were decidedly short on speed and the three draft picks were made to fight that problem. "We all look out for each other," said Moss. Now, with the trade of Javon Moran to Cincinnati to get Cory Lidle, the three have become two. Still, with Moss and Bourn burning up basepaths, there is solid speed at Lakewood. Moss stole 61 bases in two seasons at Texas, but has swiped just 13 in almost two seasons in the pros. "I'll steal more. Right now, I'm just concentrating on putting it all together," said Moss.

The 2003 Draft was rough for the Phillies. The signing of Jim Thome and David Bell cost the Phillies their picks in each of the first two rounds. When they made their first selection of the draft, it was Moss who got the call. Moss was a part of the University of Texas team that won the 2002 National Championship and had impressive college numbers.

"That National Championship didn't hit me at first. It was great and all, but I think I can appreciate it better now," said Moss. "No one can ever take that away from me."

With Moss set to start at Lakewood, two more injuries would hit and detour his season. The injuries would also put more pressure on Moss to produce when he was healthy and his numbers sank lower and lower. At one point, Moss was hitting .193 and had a couple days off during the South Atlantic League All-Star break. Almost from then on, a switch was seemingly hit that revealed the real Tim Moss.

Moss would go on an unbelievable streak, setting a Lakewood franchise record for the longest hitting streak and would raise his average just north of the .250 mark. Finally, the Phillies front office and Lakewood fans were seeing exactly the kind of player that they were told to expect. "I'm more relaxed now, I don't rush at the plate and I'm keeping my weight on my back leg more," revealed Moss. "It's just all coming together."

The same could be said for the BlueClaws. While Moss won't admit it, his emergence has been a big part of Lakewood's second half success. "I'm contributing, but we're all just coming together as a team. We believe in ourselves," said Moss.

With Chase Utley seemigly the second baseman of the future in the majors, Moss may find himself blocked in the organization. "I don't worry about that. I can't control that, so I just do what I can and that's play hard," said Moss. The truth is though that if Moss keeps up his progress, in a couple years, the talk of Moss' future will become much louder. For now, it's just a matter of everything coming together for a young player who figures to have a bright future.

Philly Baseball Insider Top Stories