Brandon Moss: The New Adam LaRoche?

Brandon Moss came over to the Pirates in the Jason Bay trade last year, sporting a career .291 average in 103 major league at bats, and a .279 average in his minor league career, including .282 at AAA. The 2009 season marks the first year that Moss has the opportunity to be an everyday starter, and so far the results haven’t been impressive.

While Moss looks good on the field, making several catches that options such as Craig Monroe and Eric Hinske couldn’t pull off, his performance at the plate leaves a lot to be desired. At the end of the first month of the season, Moss is hitting .203 with no homers in 59 at bats.

So what is the story with Moss? Is he a bust? Is he not ready for the majors yet at the age of 25 (turning 26 in September)? Or maybe he’s the new version of Adam LaRoche, lacking the ability to hit in the month of April.

Looking at his minor league splits, I noticed a trend with Moss. He is horrible in April. In his minor league career, Moss has a .243 average in the month of April. In the remaining months of the season, Moss combines for a .288 average in his minor league career.

Compare that to LaRoche, who is now hitting .199 in his career in the month of April, and .289 in the remaining months. Is it a guarantee that Moss will suddenly flip the switch at the turn of the calendar page? His history shows a trend, but nothing can guarantee that this is his problem.

So how long do we give Moss? Considering that Andrew McCutchen is currently hitting .282 at AAA, and can be called up anytime now, while getting an extra year of team control in the process, I’d say Moss is on a short leash. My guess is the Pirates will give Moss another month to turn things around. Considering how well Nyjer Morgan has been playing, it’s pretty much a guarantee that Moss would be the odd-man out when McCutchen gets the call, unless Moss starts hitting.

The question would then be: what happens to the roster. If the Pirates called Andrew McCutchen up at the end of May, they would have McCutchen, Morgan, and McLouth as the starters, and Moss, Monroe, Hinske, and Delwyn Young on the bench. There certainly wouldn’t be a need for that many outfielders. Unfortunately, Morgan is the only player who can be sent down, and the chances of that happening are extremely slim.

Unless the Pirates are planning on holding McCutchen down the entire year, they’re going to have to make a decision when he gets the call to the majors. One of Moss, Monroe, Hinske, or Young would likely be on the way out. Moss is probably safer than Monroe and Hinske, as he is 25 and has at least five more years of team control under his belt. However, if Moss doesn’t start hitting, he could find himself on the bench full time this time next month, and maybe even without a spot on the Pirates roster.

Enjoy this story? Pirates Prospects will be switching to a subscription site on 4/13, so that we can continue bringing you the best Pirates coverage there is. For a very small monthly price, you can continue getting articles like this, along with coverage from every minor league city. Get more information here, and subscribe today!

Share This Article

Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

Bankston and Hughes Have Good Outings But All Lose

Next Story »


Latest Analysis

  • Josh Bell made the move to first base over the off-season. (Photo credit: David Hague)

    Why Should You Care About Prospects?

    1 day ago

    Yesterday I had a shorter day than usual. The Pirates had cuts at the MLB level, and a road game. The day was shortened at Pirate City, ...

    Read More
  • Gregory Polanco

    Q&A: Trading Prospects For Rentals, Polanco Concerns, Meadows vs Appel

    2 days ago

    I missed the Q&A last week due to a common problem in Spring Training: I forgot what day it was. It was around 6:00 that I was ...

    Read More
  • Nick Kingham f

    Improving His Two-Seam Fastball will Make Nick Kingham a More Effective Pitcher

    3 days ago

    With Jameson Taillon returning from Tommy John surgery, and unlikely to make an impact at the Major League level early in the year, the top prospect to ...

    Read More
  • Arquimedes Caminero 3

    The Roster Situations That Could Impact the Makeup of the Pirates Bullpen

    5 days ago

    There are less than two weeks remaining in Spring Training, and the one area where the Pittsburgh Pirates had actual position battles is heating up. There were ...

    Read More
  • Jordan Luplow

    How the Pirates are Trying to Stay Ahead of the Curve With the New Draft Rules

    6 days ago

    The 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement brought a lot of changes to Major League Baseball. The biggest change for the Pittsburgh Pirates came in the draft. From 2008-2011, ...

    Read More
  • Alen Hanson

    The Key For Alen Hanson to Help the Pirates in the Majors This Year

    1 week ago

    When the Pittsburgh Pirates moved Alen Hanson to second base last year, part of the plan was to get him to the majors faster by putting him at ...

    Read More
  • Tyler Glasnow 2

    What the Stats Don’t Tell You About Tyler Glasnow

    1 week ago

    The stat line for Tyler Glasnow’s start at Pirate City yesterday looked great: 3 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K. The lone run ...

    Read More
  • JaCoby Jones Josh Bell

    JaCoby Jones Did Fine in the Move to Shortstop, But Needs to Cut Down on Strikeouts

    2 weeks ago

    The Pittsburgh Pirates drafted JaCoby Jones as an outfielder in the third round of the 2013 draft, then surprised everyone the following year when they moved him ...

    Read More
  • Cody Dickson is a lefty with the upside of a middle of the rotation starter. (Photo Credit: Mark Olson)

    The Mental Adjustment that Led to Cody Dickson’s Dominant 2014 Second Half

    2 weeks ago

    Trusting his stuff and not trying to do too much — that has been the key for left-handed pitcher Cody Dickson so far in his professional baseball ...

    Read More
  • Third Base Mathisen Luplow Joe

    Who’s on Third? In the Pirates’ Farm System, It Could Be Anyone

    2 weeks ago

    If you have ever played third base in your life — professional, college, high school, slow pitch softball — then the Pittsburgh Pirates might be contacting you ...

    Read More
  • Browse More Articles