Position: Third Baseman
DOB: February 20, 1985
The Twins selected Matthew Moses with their first round pick in the 2003 June Draft, and since then, he has turned himself into the best position player prospect in the entire organization. Aside from being one of the best third base prospects in all of Minor League Baseball, Moses is also one of the best left-handed bats in the Eastern League, as he continues to make his way up the Twins' farm ladder. For a kid who battled back from a tiny hole in his heart, he sure has shown more than enough heart since the day he was drafted.
Moses broke into the Twins' Minor League system during the 2003 season, when he was a member of the Gulf Coast League Twins. Only 18-years old, Moses tore up the GCL in his inaugural season, batting a robust .385 for the year. In 18 games, he drove in 11 runs, and had an on-base percentage of .417. It was a great start to his career, but the 2004 season would be a long one, as Moses battled an injury en-route to his lowest statistical numbers of his career.
He began that 2004 season once again with the Gulf Coast League Twins, but he would end it with Quad Cities of the Midwest League. He would end up playing only 30 games combined with the two teams, as a stress fracture in his lower back would sideline him for most of the season. The injury turned out to be an old high school injury, and really made the 2004 season a wash for him.
However, the Twins thought enough of Moses to send him straight to High-A Fort Myers to open up the 2005 season, and he did not disappoint them. Before he was promoted to Double-A ball, Moses was hitting .306 in the pitcher friendly Florida State League, and had hit seven home runs in 73 games. Of his 81 FSL hits, 24 of them went for extra-bases, as he ended his Florida State League career with a .453 slugging percentage.
Once he was promoted to Double-A New Britain, Moses struggled, both with the bat, and in the field. The Twins decided to tweak his swing a little bit, and he was working on some things during his time in the Eastern League last season. He hit only .210 for the Rock Cats, but did have 16 extra-base hits in only 48 games. Still, he did not get down on himself, and flourished in the prestigious Arizona Fall League this past fall.
This season, he is one of the hottest hitters in Minor League Baseball, as he is currently batting .354 for those same Rock Cats. What a difference a season makes, as he has tore up EL pitchers with three home runs, and nine runs batted in during his first 14 games. He is also working on the main thing scouts look at from a left-handed hitter, as he is batting .455 against lefties this season, and .375 with runners in scoring position. By the end of the season, he should get his first taste of International League ball.
Batting and Power: Moses has one of the better batting eyes in the Twins organization, and is becoming more and more disciplined at the plate in each at-bat. He also has a sweet left-handed stroke, which enables him to generate power to all fields. His swing is also nice and compact, and he is able to crush balls at the right time. He is also a clutch hitter, who always seems to drive in the big run at the right time. He has struck out a little too much the past two seasons, but it is mostly because he has been promoted rapidly during his first three seasons of Minor League Baseball.
Baserunning and Speed. Moses is a below-average runner, who is never going to win any stolen base titles. While he does not have bad footspeed, he also does not scare pitchers when he is taking a lead off the bases. Surprisingly, he swiped 16 bases last season, mostly because he is one of the headiest base runners in the organization. He flat out knows how to play baseball, and you can see that when he is on the base paths.
Defense. Moses has been working on his defense tirelessly, and I have seen that firsthand. When I saw him in Binghamton last season, Moses was the first one out there getting his work in, and when he was not working on his hitting, he was taking hundreds of balls at the hot corner. Some feel he is going to have to move to a corner outfield position, but I think he is working extremely hard at being a great third baseman. He is very young, and is only going to get better, so I do not feel he is going to have to switch to the outfield. If anything, he could move to first base, but that would be a waste of his abilities.
ETA. 2007. The third base position is still a question mark at the Major League level, especially after Terry Ryan failed to pull the trigger to get Hank Blalock this past season. It was a good thing that he did not make that trade, because he has a great young prospect in Moses just waiting for his chance in the Minor Leagues. He will be in Triple-A at some point this season, and will fight for the starting third baseman job in 2007. Some felt he was ready at the beginning of the season to be in Triple-A, but it is clear that this time in Double-A is doing him good, and he is getting better every game.