Name: Matthew Moses
Position: Third Baseman
DOB: February 20, 1985
The Twins selected Matthew Moses with their first round pick in the 2003 June Draft, and since then, he has turned himself into one of the better position players in the Twins organization. Moses has had his fair share of struggles the past two seasons, but he is still widely considered the Twins third baseman of the future by some scouts. For a kid who battled back from a tiny hole in his heart, he sure has shown more than enough heart since the day he was drafted.
Moses broke into the Twins’ Minor League system during the 2003 season, when he was a member of the Gulf Coast League Twins. Only 18-years old, Moses tore up the GCL in his inaugural season, batting a robust .385 for the year. In 18 games, he drove in 11 runs, and had an on-base percentage of .417. It was a great start to his career, but the 2004 season would be a long one, as Moses battled an injury en-route to his lowest statistical numbers of his career.
He began that 2004 season once again with the Gulf Coast League Twins, but he would end it with Quad Cities of the Midwest League. He would end up playing only 30 games combined with the two teams, as a stress fracture in his lower back would sideline him for most of the season. The injury turned out to be an old high school injury, and really made the 2004 season a wash for him.
However, the Twins thought enough of Moses to send him straight to High-A Fort Myers to open up the 2005 season, and he did not disappoint them. Before he was promoted to Double-A ball, Moses was hitting .306 in the pitcher friendly Florida State League, and had hit seven home runs in 73 games. Of his 81 FSL hits, 24 of them went for extra-bases, as he ended his Florida State League career with a .453 slugging percentage.
Once he was promoted to Double-A New Britain, Moses struggled, both with the bat, and in the field. The Twins decided to tweak his swing a little bit, and he was working on some things during his time in the Eastern League last season. He hit only .210 for the Rock Cats, but did have 16 extra-base hits in only 48 games. Still, he did not get down on himself, and flourished in the prestigious Arizona Fall League in 2005.
In 2006, Moses once again struggled in the Eastern League, as he battled his way to a .249 batting average. Though he set a career-high with 15 home runs, it was not the season that the Twins expected from Moses. It is possible that Moses could be back in New Britain once again in 2007.
Batting and Power: Moses has not had the kind of production the Twins were expecting from him in the Eastern League, and it is beginning to worry some scouts. He arrived at Spring Training in great shape, and that could equate to a big season for him. He does have good gap power, but he is a streaky hitter, and needs to be more patient, and consistent at the plate. He was once considered a middle of the lineup hitter, and if he can get himself back on track, then he should once again be a top-ten prospect in the Twins organization.
Baserunning and Speed. Moses is a below-average runner, who is never going to win any stolen base titles. While he does not have bad footspeed, he also does not scare pitchers when he is taking a lead off the bases. He is one of the headiest base runners in the organization. He flat out knows how to play baseball, and you can see that when he is on the base paths. After stealing 16 bases in 2005, Moses stole only two in 2006, though he does look like he lost a lot of weight this year. It is possible that the loss of a few pounds could lead to a few more bags in 2007.
Defense. Moses has not gotten much better with the glove, though it has not been from a lack of trying. He is a very hard worker when it comes to his defense, and is usually the first one out there getting groundballs. The Twins have been working him at both corner positions, and he seems to be comfortable at first base as well as third. He does not have a great arm, and his range is very limited, so a move to the outfield could be in order as well. He is the kind of kid who works extremely hard, so there is still time for him to be a serviceable defensive third baseman.
ETA. 2008. Moses has been on a decline the past few seasons, but I think he will rebound in 2007. If he can start making more consistent contact, then there should be a rise in not only his batting average, but also his power numbers. He is never going to be a great defensive player, but the third base spot in Minnesota is far from being set in stone for the future. David Winfree is on his heels, so Moses is going to have to put together a good season in 2007, to give the Twins some reassurance. If he falters again, he might end up with a bust marker on him, like Eric Duncan of the Yankees.