For the fifth straight year, we’re taking some time in that time between the end of the season and the winter meetings to discuss each player that made an appearance on the St. Louis roster this season. Whether they played almost every day or never actually got into a game, they get covered in this series. All stats are exclusively their time in St. Louis. Just think of this as them stopping by Mike Matheny‘s office for a quick evaluation before heading home for the winter.
This year’s Exit Interview series is “being brought to you by” some of the various Cardinal podcasts that are out there for your listening pleasure. Our focus this time is Two Birds on a Bat. One of the more recent shows I’ve found, these guys are a bit of a throwback, just three guys talking about the game (though with a professional-sounding show). Plus they regularly have Bengie Molina weighing in. Find them on iTunes or check out their site!
Player: Brandon Moss
Season stats: 128 games, 464 PA, 66 R, 19 2B, 2 3B, 28 HR, 67 RBI, 39 BB, 141 K, .225/.300/.484, 105 OPS+, 0.8 bWAR
Hero/Goat: Hero 12, Goat 11
Overall grade: C
Positives: Showed the power that the Cardinals were hoping for when they traded him, hitting 28 home runs….had a pretty solid first half, with a .910 OPS and a .256 average….looked like he was finding a groove before going down with an ankle injury, hitting .333/.407/.792 with eight home runs in June….hit .308 with three home runs coming off the bench….hit .306 with four homers on the first pitch….hit 13 of his home runs with two outs in an inning….had a .956 OPS with runners in scoring position….had his best line (.264/.357/.500) against groundball pitchers, ironically….had five home runs against the Cubs, the most against any team save the Reds (also five).
Negatives: Everyone knows the big one, the end of year skid that saw him get nine hits in 99 at bats….from August 29 to September 11, went one for 41….only had three homers and a .664 OPS against left-handed pitchers….hit .220 at home….his entire second half line was bad (.191/.248/.392) though he missed a good portion of July with an ankle injury….hit .203 in May, his second-worst month of the year….14 of his home runs came when he was playing left field, but he only hit .204 then….had a .519 OPS hitting third….hit .158 with two strikes….struck out on average more than once a game….hit .196 with two outs and RISP….16 of his home runs came in low-leverage situations….hit .109 with a .479 OPS against the Brewers.
Overview: Thank goodness the Cardinals are a deliberate organization. When Moss was on his tear in June, the fans were thinking he might be worth a qualifying offer and the club was apparently considering offering him an extension. Then Moss got hurt, the hitting went south, and everyone stepped back from the ledge. There were times this season that Moss seemed to carry the offense, and when he struggled it did as well. Yet, when you look at the monthly splits for the club, you really can’t tell that. Moss seemed like a great guy and he’s had a better stint in St. Louis than I think many fans will remember going forward, but when the qualifying offer is $17.2 million, you have to put a hard pass on him in this situation.
Outlook: It’s hard to argue that the team will be much, if any, worse without Moss when you factor in everything (the power but also the defense and the lack of contact). Moss will probably wind up as a part-time outfielder or bench bat for a club and maybe he can work his way into something more. I hope so, because he seems like a quality individual.