Former Phillies prospect Moss a late bloomer with Athletics

Posted: July 16, 2014

MINNEAPOLIS - Three years ago, the Phillies had the best record in baseball and were prepping for the final month of the season.

They struck a deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates for Triple A first baseman/outfielder John Bowker to add a lefthanded bat to their bench. In doing so, the Phillies left Brandon Moss on the IronPigs roster at Triple A Lehigh Valley.

Bowker went 0-for-13 with seven strikeouts in his monthlong career with the Phillies. He never played in a big-league game after that September, and was last seen this spring in the Mexican League.

Moss broke through with the Oakland in 2012 and is one of six Athletics at the All-Star Game in Minneapolis tonight.

"No one would have anticipated that I'd go from struggling at the beginning of my career to now at an All-Star Game," said Moss, 30, a late bloomer-turned-All-Star in the mold of Jayson Werth. "You can't anticipate that . . . There are plenty of opportunities given where guys don't make the most of it. You can't anticipate that."

Moss acknowledged he was upset the Phillies didn't call him up that September, but he understood he wasn't going to be in the team's major league plan going forward anyway.

"They had [Ryan] Howard, they had [Hunter] Pence," Moss said. "They had [Raul] Ibanez, who was playing well."

Although the Phillies offered him another minor league deal after hitting .275 with an .877 OPS, 23 home runs and 80 RBI at Lehigh Valley in 2011, Moss opted to sign a minor league deal with Oakland. He figured he'd have a better opportunity with a fresh set of eyes evaluating him.

He guessed right, since he's been a regular in Oakland's lineup since June 2012.

Moss is hitting .268 with an .878 OPS and 21 home runs in 89 games with the Oakland A's, the team with baseball's best record. Both his home runs and OPS would lead all Phillies players.

But he doesn't hold a grudge that the Phillies once chose John Bowker over him.

"I felt like if they were going go and get a guy from within, I felt like I would have been a good option for them, I felt like I could have helped, as far as I should have gotten an opportunity," Moss said. "But at the same time, you know, you can't really dwell on that. Like I was saying before, you get labeled something, it's hard to break that label in the major leagues. I was labeled as more of a 4-A guy. I had a good year at Triple A for them, but at the same time they were trying to win the National League East, trying to go to the World Series.

"They were looking for a guy who thought they could help them, and they thought Bowker could help them more than I could. As a player, you have to look into that, say, 'I'm not the player they're looking for.' But as an organization, the organization has to do what they think is best for them.

"It upset me personally. I wanted the opportunity. I wanted to be there. Because they were an unbelievable team. They won 102 games. Who doesn't want to be a a part of that? But at the same time, I didn't take it personally as, 'Heck with these guys.' You just read the writing on the wall: I'm not the guy that they want, so you have to go elsewhere to maybe be a guy another organization wants. Personally, you always want to be in the major leagues, especially on a really good team. But you can't hold it against an organization when you're not the guy they're looking for."

On Twitter: @ryanlawrence21


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