Top Prospect #9: Tim Moss

Tim Moss looked like a flop early in his professional career. Then, after getting over injuries and health problems, things turned around for Moss and he's jumped up the list of Phillies prospects. The problem is how he could fit onto a Phillies team that already has Chase Utley at second base.

The 2003 Draft was a speed draft for the Phillies. They looked for players who could provide speed throughout the organization and they found a few of them. In fact, their first three picks - Moss, Michael Bourn and Javon Moran - were all drafted because of their speed. Moran has since been traded, but Bourn and Moss are looking like they can give the Phillies more than just some speed. The problem for Tim Moss and the Phillies is where he could potentially play. With Chase Utley at second base and the club looking to sign him to a multi-year deal, there wouldn't seem to be room for Moss who has played exclusively at second base since joining the Phillies organization.

Can anyone say "trade bait"?

After an incredibly shaky start, Moss got over injuries that he suffered early on, only to be diagnosed with high blood pressure. The condition has been treated and with his health problems out of the way, Moss took off. He raised his average over 100 points at Lakewood in 2004 and in 2005, added power to his arsenal. While speed is still his best asset, Moss is looking to give the Phillies the whole package.

'03 Batavia 1 11 .150 43 160 10 24 5 2 5 11 47 .220
'04 Lakewood 2 28 .256 78 273 31 70 15 1 10 24 75 .342
'05 Clearwater 17 61 .269 123 469 87 126 30 5 28 45 129 .348
Career 20 100 .244 244 902 128 220 50 8 43 80 251 .324

Acquired: Drafted by the Phillies in the third round of the 2003 Draft out of the University of Texas.

Batting and Power: Where the 17 homeruns came from last season is anybody's guess. Moss never displayed much ability to hit the longball and the Phillies weren't looking for him to be a homerun hitter. The good news is that Moss didn't strike out at a higher rate than he did in 2004, but the bad news is that he was striking out too often in 2004. Over each of the last two seasons, Moss has struck out once every 3.6 at bats, a slightly higher rate than his 3.4 at bats rate in his horrid debut season. Moss, a right-handed hitter, did put up better offensive numbers against left-handers than right-handers, hitting an even .300 (39-for-130) against southpaws and .247 (87-for-339) against righties.

Baserunning and Speed: This is where Moss figured to earn his keep. He stole a career-high 28 bases last season, but the Phillies figure he could do even more in this department. Quite frankly, 43 stolen bases over three seasons is far off the pace that the Phillies expected. Of course, getting on base at just a .324 clip over those seasons won't give you much of a chance to steal bases. The Phillies would rather have Moss just getting on base and using his speed than trying to hit homeruns and striking out as much as he has.

Defense: This is the area where Moss is particularly weak. He's made 41 errors over three seasons and can't be considered a sure thing, even on routine plays. Some scouts thought that the Phillies might consider moving him to the outfield, but so far, the Phillies have resisted. Of course, they have a few speedy outfielders in the organization too, so that wouldn't help things too much. Moss could push his stock considerably higher if he were to pick up some defensive skills. Many of his errors come on throws, but Moss so far, hasn't been able to correct somewhat funky throwing mechanics.

Projection: While Moss has shown a lot of improvement, he hasn't truly put it all together. Moss should start to see the light, much like Jimmy Rollins has at the major league level. AA is going to be a real test for Moss, since that's where some of the bigger prospects have their warts exposed and seem to fall apart. There are more than a few people who believe Moss will be somewhat exposed at AA Reading in 2005, but if he can make it there, he'll quiet a lot of critics.

Comparison: You can't help but see a younger Jimmy Rollins in Moss. This is a kid who wants to be Rickey Henderson and leadoff games with homeruns like Henderson did. What he doesn't see is that he's hurting himself by not simply getting on base and causing havoc for opposing pitchers by stealing a ton of bases. Simply becoming a better fundamental player would make Moss so much better.


Philly Baseball Insider Top Stories