Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
The Oakland Athletics offense is one of the biggest surprises this season, scoring more runs per game (5.34) than every major league team except one (Colorado), and first baseman Brandon Moss is a big part of the reason why they are so productive.
Moss is the perfect example of what the Athletics do well: Find a guy who no one wants and steer him toward real fantasy value.
With a Yahoo preseason fantasy ranking of 194, Moss wasn't given much respect this March despite the fact he blasted 30 homers in just 446 at-bats last season.
That's probably because he didn't have a sure-fire spot in the lineup. The A's had a solid outfield made up of Coco Crisp, Yoenis Cespedes and Josh Reddick, Daric Barton at first base and two solid-hitting catchers who would share time behind the plate with Moss at DH.
Moss' ranking left him sandwiched between Washington catcher Wilson Ramos (a lifetime .268 hitter) and Cleveland first baseman Nick Swisher (a solid 22-29 home run guy best known for his actress wife and a guest appearance on "How I Met Your Mother").
But as the season has progressed into its second month, it is Moss who has become a huge fantasy asset.
Moss has become a fixture at first base, starting 22 games while Barton, who batted .158 through the first 30 games, has been outrighted to Sacramento of the Pacific Coast League.
The 30-year-old Moss has thrived in his new role.
Batting mostly in the cleanup spot, he's batting .301 with nine home runs, 39 RBI and a .973 OPS. He's batting equally well at home (.293, six home runs, .975 OPS) versus on the road (.310, three home runs, .968 OPS) despite the pitcher-friendly confines of O.co Coliseum.
He has even unexpectedly hit lefties well this season (.346) compared to his career average against southpaws of .252. "I know I can be moderately productive against left-handed pitching, but I'm not a power threat against lefties unless they make a mistake," he told John Shea of sfgate.com.
Still, Moss has played well against everyone of late and deserves a full-time spot in Oakland's starting lineup and fantasy lineups, too.
Moss started getting hot after the All-Star break last season (.296, 14 home runs, 43 RBI, .989 OPS), but has really exploded in the past two weeks, hitting .383 with four homers and a 1.304 OPS helping the A's build a AL West-leading 28-16 record.
We see no reason he can't be a top-10 fantasy first baseman.
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