About a month ago, I wrote an article about why the Phillies should sign Brandon Moss. Then I saw a thoughtful, if ill-titled, article at Fangraphs, “Finding the Next Brandon Moss.” Except Brandon Moss still exists. While a lot more players are hitting more home runs, there are teams still desperately seeking that power. How can he fit on each team? See below:
Whether it’s Albert Pujols, David Freese, Fernando Salas, or Shane Robinson, the Angels are a common home for players post-Cardinals career. Why not add Brandon Moss? Since their baseball-smashing designated hitter is potentially out for the start of the season recovering from foot surgery and C.J. Cron has a minor-league option available, a one-year contract for Moss makes sense.
If the Angels really want to temporarily replace Pujols’s power and have a fantastic option off the bench upon his return — as well as someone who can play left field or first base in a National League ballpark — Brandon Moss is the guy.
San Diego Padres
This is an interesting fact since the Padres only had one “qualified” hitter in 2016. The projected starting outfield for the Padres this upcoming season is Alex Dickerson, Travis Jankowski, and Hunter Renfroe. In 2016, those three combined for 16 home runs in 703 plate appearances. Brandon Moss hit 28 homers in 464. They need another outfielder, and Brandon Moss is the solution, especially if they want someone to platoon with Renfroe.
St. Louis Cardinals
Cardinals fans, my compatriots, don’t pretend you didn’t secretly love Brandon Moss and his friendship with Jedd Gyorko. We could put Brandon Moss in the bullpen, and he would probably end the year with a better ERA than Jonathan Broxton. And who can forget what he said about Matt Holliday’s last homer:
Tampa Bay Rays
Y’all need a designated hitter, more outfield depth, and some pop on the bench. One player solves all three problems: Brandon Moss. ESPN has Corey Dickerson listed as both the starting left fielder and the starting designated hitter. Something tells me that’s not going to work. Free agent Logan Morrison is listed as the backup first baseman and designated hitter. Take a look at Brandon Moss offensively, and tell me he wouldn’t be a great addition to the club:
The only limitation is the Rays want to improve their lineup against lefties. Brandon Moss’s splits aren’t terribly unequal (96 wRC+ vs. L, 114 wRC+ vs. R). Tampa Bay is similar to St. Louis in that there are a lot question marks; Brandon Moss is versatile enough to fill multiple roles and produce in each of them.
The Nats need a better bench player who can also fill in when Jayson Werth lands on the DL because he’s 37 or when Ryan Zimmerman re-aggravates his shoulder injury. If only there was a player who hit 28 home runs as a platoon player with significant time in left field and first base.
The Nationals re-signed Stephen Drew and Chris Heisey while Brandon Moss is still on the market, which was, simply put, dumb.
When Brandon Moss gets a hit, more than half the time it is for extra bases. Imagine how well that would play with Trea Turner on base. Just go ahead and put that run on the scoreboard.
While those are the teams I can really see signing Brandon Moss, here are some notable factoids about the remaining 25. (Yes, I know some of them are a stretch, but the Cubs were really good last year.)
“Our DH hit fewer homers in more plate appearances”:
Below are the clubs whose designated hitters had more plate appearances than Brandon Moss in 2016 and hit fewer home runs:
- Detroit Tigers (Martinez, 27)
- Minnesota Twins (Mauer, 11) (Sano, 25)
“He hit more homers as a platoon player than our #1 HR-hitting starter”:
- Los Angeles Dodgers (Turner, 27)
- New York Yankees (Beltran, 22)
- Pittsburgh Pirates (McCutchen, 24)
- Philadelphia Phillies (Franco, 25)
- San Francisco Giants (Belt, 17)
“His UZR is better than our left fielder’s”
Brandon Moss is a capable left fielder, with an UZR/150 of 6.9. Granted, defensive metrics can be iffy, but it can be a benefit. Especially for American League clubs who need a DH to play during away games at National League parks. Or teams that need a platoon or a backup in case of injury. Brandon Moss gives you so much! (See below, minimum 350 innings)
- Atlanta Braves (Kemp, -16.5)
- Baltimore Orioles (Kim, -17.4)
- Chicago White Sox (Cabrera, -7.1)
- Oakland Athletics (Davis, 0.1)
- Seattle Mariners (Aoki, -7.2)
“Brandon Moss has a higher walk rate than our first baseman”:
Brandon Moss had a walk rate of 8.4 percent in 2016, which ranked 20th out of 26th first baseman with 450+ plate appearances.
- Boston Red Sox (Moreland, 7.0 percent)
- Houston Astros (Gonzalez, 4.2 percent)
- Milwaukee Brewers (Shaw, 8.1 percent)
“Brandon Moss has more isolated power than our first baseman”
Of all first basemen with 450+ plate appearances, Brandon Moss ranks fourth out of 26. When he makes contact, he hits for power with a .259 ISO. Here are the teams with a first baseman who rank further down:
- Chicago Cubs (Rizzo, .252)
- Cleveland (Santana, .239)
- Kansas City Royals (Hosmer, .167)
- Miami Marlins (Bour, .211)
- New York Mets (Duda, .183)
- Toronto Blue Jays (Smoak, .174)
“Brandon Moss could pitch here”:
The teams whose bullpen ERAs were so bad Brandon Moss, who has never recorded a major league pitching appearance, might look good in comparison:
- Arizona Diamondbacks (4.94)
- Cincinnati Reds (5.09)
- Colorado Rockies (5.13)
- Texas Rangers (4.40)
Really, Brandon Moss is the kind of guy I like to watch play baseball. He’s cool with being a platoon player, he comes off as really sweet, and he hits a lot of bombs. When a team is in a slump, Brandon Moss is out there smiling because he just loves to play the game. When the dog days of summer come around, it’s probably nice to have an optimist in the clubhouse.
. . .
Audrey Stark is a Contributor at Beyond the Box Score. You can follow her on Twitter @highstarksunday.