Grading The Top 10: Tim Moss

As we approach the 1/3 point of the season, it's time to take a look at how the top ten Phillies prospects are doing this season. Our number nine prospect is second baseman Tim Moss, who is off to his usual slow start.

Thankfully, Tim Moss is starting to turn around his season, but it's been a long, slow process. It took Moss until the eighth game of the season to collect his first hit of the year and as late as April 21, he was hitting .087 for the AA Reading Phillies. Now, he's upped his average to .190 and it's on a steady climb.

"He always seems to start out slow," said Phillies minor league director Steve Noworyta of Moss. "It seems he has to get comfortable at every level, but once he does, he starts to take off." Actually, last season Moss started the year by hitting .316 in April with Clearwater, breaking his norm of slow starts.

Moss got his career off to a very slow start and it looked at times like he would never even reach the AA level, so struggles early on with Reading aren't anything too tough for Moss to handle. Besides, it's all turning around now as Moss raised his average a little over 40 points in a two-week span by going 11-for-33 (.333). Surprisingly, the right-hand hitting Moss has struggled most against left-handers, hitting just .122 this season against southpaws. Last season, Moss hit an even .300 against left-handers in the Florida State League.

Early Grade - D: Since Moss has started to right the ship, there is hope that his season won't be as dismal as it originally appeared. There were a lot of discussions that he needed to be sent back to Clearwater, but to their credit, the Phillies have continued to work with Moss and have shown a lot of confidence in him and kept him at AA Reading.

There are still a lot of fans who simply don't see Moss as a true prospect. For Moss, there is going to be a long, slow learning curve and the Phillies and their fans are going to have to be very patient with him. After Moss' breakout season at Clearwater (17-61-.269), a lot more was expected of him this season at Reading. While he's managed four homeruns, he's striking out with a greater frequency than he did last season (once for every 2.5 AB in '06 compared to once for every 3.6 AB in '05) and last season's strikeout numbers were too high.

One concern is that Moss is too enamored with power numbers to simply put the ball in play and use his speed. It's the Jimmy Rollins syndrome and that could ultimately be what sinks Moss if he doesn't learn that lesson quickly.

Tim Moss' career stats

'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
'06 Reading 4 16 .190 39 137 14 26 4 5 6 10 54 .253
CAREER 24 116 .237 283 1039 142 246 54 13 49 90 305 .315

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