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February 15, 2007 at 6:06 PM

Twelve Questions with Brandon Moss

Welcome to the newest segment on SoxProspects.com called Twelve Questions with Top Prospects, where the SoxProspects Community has a chance to interact with, well, Sox Prospects. A million thanks to top prospect Brandon Moss for agreeing to be the first player to participate in the new segment. Here are his comments and responses to the questions from the SoxProspects Community.

Brandon: First off, I would just like to say thank you to everyone who participated in this, its an honor to be asked to do something like this, because its a chance to let the fans know our perspective on things, and gives them a chance to be a little personal. So, thank you all for this opportunity, and I will answer all of your questions the best that I can.

1. This is a great concept. Thanks to Brandon for agreeing to start it up. Brandon, between your 2004 season and your finish last year, many Red Sox fans are excited about your future. What part of your game do you consider to be your strongest asset right now?
Brandon: Right now, I would have to say my strongest asset would be both my ability to accurately evaluate myself, and my ability to let things go. I think that a lot of people these days, be they athletes or not, lack the ability to be good self evaluators. I think that being able to look yourself in the mirror and know who you are, and be honest with yourself is one of the most challenging things a human being can do, because lets face it, we all expect the best from ourselves, and rightly so, because we want the best for ourselves. But at the end of the day, if you can look yourself in the eye, and say that you did the best you could, or even to be honest with yourself and say you stunk at whatever you did that day, I think that is how we truly get the most out of ourselves. And as for my ability to let things go, what I mean by that is that if I go 0-4 with 4 Ks on Saturday, I’m not going to let that bother me on Sunday, because I have a job to do everyday, and everyday could be the best game I’ve ever played, and it could also be the last game I ever play.

2. The Red Sox have previously indicated that the organization bases its promotions significantly on the improvement of specified aspects of each prospect’s game, rather than on the basis of statistical success. Did the organization express this policy to you and other prospects? If so, what elements of your offensive and defensive game did the Red Sox specify for you to work on in 2006 and this off-season?
Brandon: This is an excellent question, because you would think that if a guy has a pretty good statistical year, that he should get a promotion. However, in our Minor League system, our staff is more dedicated, and more concerned with development, rather than just statistical success. They have to base things on the individual, not by saying, "well, this guy hit .300, so he should move up" instead, they have to know if he can handle the next level, and that if he struggles there, how will he respond. Also, sometimes, there are certain aspects that the player needs to work on physically, such as myself. I needed to repeat AA because I had to relearn how to use the opposite field the way I did in 2004. The Red Sox have a main goal in their Minor Leagues, and that is to develop winning players who can contribute to a winning team.

3. You had an amazing year in 2004 (congratulations!), but your 2005 and 2006 were notable for some streakiness. What do you think caused this streakiness? Is it possible that the organization rushed you a bit by sending you straight to AA after having a limited amount of at bats in High A at the end of 2004? What steps are you taking or have you taken to smooth it out?
Brandon: In 2004, I had a career year, it was great, it seemed everything I made contact with fell, and everything went my way. In 2005, I don’t think I was "rushed" to AA, however I think the Red Sox knew that I would be challenged and that I would have to make adjustments at that level, and they wanted to see how I would respond to those challenges. I didn’t have a bad year in 2005, however it was nothing like my 2004, but I was streaky, as you have said. I think the streakiness was caused by me getting a little bit "pull happy" in Portland because of the short right field fence. In 2006, I worked extremely hard at going the other way, and stayed with that plan the whole year. I wasn’t streaky at all in 2006, it may look to be that way by the numbers I had at the beginning, but the whole season I was very consistent in my approach, and even in what I did with the ball, its just that early on, lady luck was not on my side and I wasn’t having those hits fall like they did late in the season, and in 2004.

4. Brandon, Todd Claus recently stated that you went out of your way last season to improve your skill of moving the ball to all fields. Did you start to reap the benefits of this at the end of the year during your hot streak and do you think it hindered your numbers earlier in the year?
Brandon: As I said in the question before, yes I did work very hard at hitting to all fields, however I don’t believe that this hindered me early on. The reason for this is that I had already made the adjustments in the off-season, and was very comfortable in what I was trying to do. I was making good contact and driving the ball everywhere, its just that early on, for some reason nothing was falling. That, however, is part of the game. The big thing for the "hot streak" later in the year, was that I stayed with my original plan and never strayed from it.

5. As someone who has worked his way up through the ladder through most of the Red Sox system, do you feel there is much difference in the way that players are treated at the Rookie level and up the ladder to AA? Is there any impression that players get treated with more respect or recognition after they are added to the 40-man roster or after they’ve gotten MLB experience?
Brandon: I think that as you move up levels, people learn who you are, and what you are about, therefore you are treated with a little more respect than an 18 year old in rookie ball, and I think that is rightly so. As for the 40 man roster, I don’t think that is something that should be respected like someone who has played in the Major Leagues should, because the 40 man isn’t the 25 man roster, and the main goal is the 25 man roster, not the 40 man.

6. Who have been some of your biggest influences while moving up through the Red Sox farm system?
Brandon: Some of my biggest influences are Todd Claus, Lou Frazier, Chad Epperson, and Victor Martinez, and Russ Morman, not to mention the players I’ve played with and learned from, but these 5 coaches have gone above and to help me and teach me, whether it be advice, extra work, or just encouragement, these 5 have been an unbelievable help in my own development.

7. You were relatively young during your first year in AA. What was that like personally and in terms of performance? Related, what was it like being in AA for a second year? How did that help your development? Did the cold weather in Portland have an effect on your game?
Brandon: My first year in AA was a challenge, but it was nothing I couldn’t handle. My second year I was sent there to see if I could make the adjustments, and improve on my first year, and to see what I was capable of handling. Not to make excuses, or say anything negative about Portland, because I love the city, and the people, but yes, the cold was a huge challenge for me, especially my first year because I had never played baseball in cold weather, and I was coming from Florida where it was eighty five and sunny everyday. My second year though, I knew what to expect, and was much more prepared for the cold.

8. How would you compare your physical conditioning to what it was two years ago?
Brandon: I used to think that hitting all off-season would prepare me for the season to come. However, I quickly learned that the off-season should be a time of building muscle, and getting in shape, to prepare me for the LONG season that we play. The difference in preparation really made a difference for me last year, in that I didn’t really wear down like I had the year before.

9. A movement has recently come about whereas the Red Sox and many other organizations place their highest regarded prospects in AA and place journeyman-type minor leaguers with low potential but some MLB experience at AAA, and only when a prospect is on the immediate cusp of a major league promotion is he placed in AAA. Have you or other prospects noticed this trend? If so, what’s the general opinion? Has the team relayed this to the players as their general policy?
Brandon: I have noticed this trend, and to tell you the truth, I don’t know why. Maybe its because a lot of teams send there young talent to AA, and its a really tough level, but to be honest with you, I’m only guessing. I have no idea why that is.

10. How did you enjoy your Dominican Winter League experience? What were the primary differences between the DWL and AA in terms of talent? How did the daily schedule differ from your US experience? You ended the AA season and started the DWL strongly, but tailed off over your last two weeks in the DWL. How much of a break did you get between the end of the playoffs and when you reported to the Dominican Republic and do you believe it impacted on your later season DWL performance?
Brandon: The Dominican was an excellent experience for me. It was a talent filled league, and it was great weather, and the fans were great, I couldn’t have asked for more. I think all young players should experience it once in their career. I did trail off at the end, and not to make excuses for myself, because I hate that, but I was exhausted. I had a week and a half at home before I left, and by the time it was over, because I was a little afraid of what I could eat or drink there, I had lost almost 20 pounds. So, it was very tiring, but the experience was well worth it.

11. How did you enjoy the Rookie Development program? Would it be accurate to say that the program is a great opportunity to bond with other players off the field as much as on? Did any other players particularly impress you there on the field?
Brandon: I enjoyed the program. I don’t know about bonding with other players, because we spend all year together anyway, but as far as learning the city, and what’s expected of us when we get to Boston, I think the staff does a great job at getting the messages across to us.

12. You were also highly regarded as a pitching prospect coming out of high school. In your May 2006 interview with David Laurila, you said your fastball was between 94-96 in HS, and it touched 94 last year just fooling around. What else do/did you throw?
Brandon: I was a pitching prospect in high school, in fact, that’s what I thought I was going to be drafted as. I threw hard, sitting around 93-94 most games, and touching 97 once, but other than that, I didn’t have much. Just an average changeup, and a below average curveball. Looking back now, if I could face a guy now that threw like me then, I would probably do pretty well against him, because at this level, everyone can hit a fastball, so I would definitely say that God knew my future better than I did.

BONUS QUESTION: Who is a better cook - your wife or your mother?
Brandon: While both can cook their share of good meals, the nod would definitely have to go to my Nanny (my moms mother). There is no meal that she doesn’t make perfectly, and my favorites are her low country boil, and her corn bread. Its definitely the best corn bread I’ve ever tasted.