Brandon Moss Gives the Royals Dingers, But Not Much Else
When the Kansas City Royals went to two straight World Series, one of which they won, they did it by catching every ball in sight, impersonating the '85 St. Louis Cardinals on the bases, and putting the ball in play. A lot.
They didn't win via the long ball, making them a rarity in today's game, where the walk, strikeout and dinger are king. But this offseason, Kansas City has added a couple bats aimed at giving them a little more punch at the plate.
The latest is free agent outfielder/designated hitter Brandon Moss, who agreed to a two-year, $12 million deal. Moss will likely take over as designated hitter, a spot vacated by Kendrys Morales, who was one of just two regulars to post a wRC+ over 100 last season (Eric Hosmer was the other, at 101) for K.C.
Lots and Lots of Dingers
Moss didn't hit for much of an average and wasn't astute at getting on base in 2016, but he does have a bunch of pop, especially against right-handers. Here he is obliterating a pitch into the right field stands in a game against his new team last season.
Good heavens I hope no one was hurt.
Moss hammered 28 dingers in 464 plate appearances, but put up a slash line of .225/.300/.484. He also struck out a whopping 30.4% of the time, fifth-highest in all of baseball among players with 450 plate appearances (Miguel Sano, Steven Souza, Chris Davis and Chris Carter were the only ones higher).
Still, that was good for a wRC+ of 105, and his isolated power (ISO) of .259 was 14th out of 175 players with at least 450 plate appearances. Moss has slugged at least 20 bombs in four out of the last five seasons (he hit 19 in 2015), and generally mashes against righties, against whom he had an OPS of .828 with a wRC+ of 114 and 25 homers.
Moss didn't hit for much of an average against right-handers, though, only .223, with a .303 on-base percentage. But his batting average on balls in play (BABIP) of .236 against righties shows he was perhaps a bit unlucky last year. There might be some potential upside in those figures in 2017.
Potential Role in Kansas City
It's unclear if Kansas City is planning to make Moss their everyday designated hitter or if they are going to opt for a platoon. Moss' splits against left-handers last season were pretty bad (.232/.289/.375) and he banged out only three home runs against southpaws in 121 plate appearances against them. However, the Royals' depth chart shows the team has Cheslor Cuthbert as the top right-handed possibility at designated hitter. Cuthbert had a slash of .274/.318/.413 with 12 homers and a wRC+ of 94 in 510 plate appearances last year.
Not exactly an ideal platoon-mate.
Moss' numbers are a bit short of the player he's replacing in Morales, who batted .263/.327/.468 with 30 jacks and a wRC+ of 110 in 618 plate appearances. Can Moss pair with another hitter to equal Morales' figures from 2016? He/they will need to if the Royals offense is going to show any improvement in 2017.
It is clear Kansas City is trying to remake themselves a little. Their best base stealer, Jarrod Dyson, is gone, and the additions of Moss and Jorge Soler earlier in the offseason gives the Royals what they hope will be the ingredient that was missing last season when they missed the postseason for the first time since 2013: power. Sweet, sweet, power.
That is something Moss has in spades, and it appears for now as if he's going to be given the opportunity to provide it every day in Kansas City.