Coming into the 2004 season, Tim Moss had some proving to do. While he quieted some critics, he hasn't quieted them all. After all, he was the Phillies first pick (third round) in the 2003 Draft and there were extremely high expectations for Moss and what he would bring to the Phillies organization.
While Javon Moran (since traded) and Michael Bourn, who were both selected after Moss, have passed him on the prospect lists, Moss is not without potential. His first two professional seasons have been full of adjustments, illnesses and injuries, but late in the 2004 season, it appeared that he was putting it all together. Plus, there was a huge leap from his first pro season to his second in terms of how he approached the game and the numbers that he was able to put up. Again, if that progression continues, Moss will move right back up the list of prospects.
Add in the fact that with Chase Utley seemingly entrenched at second base for the immediate future, there is no pressure to rush Moss to the majors. In fact, there has been some talk that the Phillies would consider moving Moss, possibly to the outfield if the need arose. Of course, there are already a number of strong outfield candidates in the organization and Moss would need to push past them for the Phillies to seriously consider moving him.
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Acquired: Drafted out of the University of Texas in the 3rd round of the 2003 Draft.
Batting and Power: Moss isn't a power type player, but he does try to pound one out of the park every now and then. Usually, he misses badly and looks embarrassingly bad at the plate when he does, and odds are he'll learn not to do that. The Phillies are working to get Moss to understand the old adage that a walk is as good as a hit.
Baserunning and Speed: In Moss' case, a walk can be as good as a hit, because he has enough speed to swipe bases. Again, his technique needs some work and the Phillies will keep on him about improving his stolen base percentages. It's all a matter of developing.
Defense: At times, Moss looks as slick as his hero, Ozzie Smith. At other times, he bumbles around more like Ozzy Osbourne. Generally though, his defense has gotten better and if nothing else, the Phillies can report that he's working at it.
Projection: Moss was slowed by a diagnosis of high blood pressure last spring and then nagging injuries throughout the season. He was healthy late in the year and started to show why he was taken in the third round. He has talent, but needs to continue to develop areas of his game and needs - desperately needs - to stay healthy and put up big numbers in 2005. Where will he play? Good question. Odds are that he'll be pushed along to Clearwater, but there are some who believe he should take a do-over at Lakewood for at least part of the season. This spring may determine a lot as far as where he's assigned.
ETA: Again, rushing Moss simply isn't necessary. Chase Utley is still a long way from free agency and if he turns out to be as good as he's shown early on, second base is locked up. Moving to the outfield is possible, but not likely. Perhaps, Moss will learn a few new positions and be pushed toward starting his major league career as a super-sub type of player. If he develops, he could also become trade bait in a package for major league help.
Comparison: There were some scouts that mentioned Jimmy Rollins when Moss was going through the drafting process. Of course, at that time, Rollins hadn't learned to be the type of offensive player that he is now and Moss was a better looking player than he's shown in his professional career. Right now, comparisons to Doug Glanville have been raised. Probably, Moss is more in the middle of those two players and we simply need to wait to see which player he'll be closer to resembling.