St. Louis Cardinals: Brandon Moss Providing Plenty of Power

Jun 1, 2016; Milwaukee, WI, USA; St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Brandon Moss (37) hits a solo home run in the ninth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 1, 2016; Milwaukee, WI, USA; St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Brandon Moss (37) hits a solo home run in the ninth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports /

Brandon Moss has provided plenty of pop in 2016, and he is a key reason these St. Louis Cardinals have become one of the best home run hitting teams in the National League.

The St. Louis Cardinals duked it out with the Cincinnati Reds last night in a game that turned into a slugfest for the Redbirds. The Cardinals walked away with a 12-7 win at Great American Ballpark thanks in large part to a power display by Brandon Moss.

The Cardinals outfielder and first baseman finished the night 2-for-5 blasting two home runs en route to the victory. Moss’s first homer, an absolute bomb, came in the fifth inning with one man on and it gave the Redbirds a 6-4 lead that they would never relinquish. The second home run came in the seventh inning and was a line drive that got out in a hurry, barely scraping over the wall in right field.

It capped off a fantastic night for the 32-year old. One thing is for sure, Moss doesn’t get cheated at the plate. When he gets a hold of a ball it typically goes a long way.

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The home runs were numbers 12 and 13 for Moss, and he has provided plenty of power on this Cardinals team. Moss currently ranks sixth among National League outfielders with those 13 long balls (minimum 100 plate appearances). That puts him tied with Carlos Gonzalez, Bryce Harper and Jay Bruce. If you view Moss as primarily a first baseman then he is ranked second in the NL tied with Chicago Cubs’ slugger Anthony Rizzo in the home run department. Any way you slice it up, Moss has brought out the big stick this season.

So, just how good has Moss been in the power department? Better than you’d think. Moss has reached 13 home runs this year in only 142 at bats. Remember, he is currently tied with Rizzo (205 at bats), Harper (179 at bats), Gonzalez (226 at bats) and Bruce (201 at bats).

Moss has blasted his 13 dingers in a limited amount of at bats, and that is what has impressed me the most so far about his 2016 campaign. The guy is hitting a home run every 10.9 at bats for crying out loud.

When Moss came over from Cleveland last year he hit a measly four homers in 132 at bats. So, it has been nice to see the former Indian make good on his promise of more power in 2016. The strikeouts are still a problem for Moss.

He is striking out 31.3 percent of the time this season, which is his highest percentage since 2012. But when the guy is hitting a home run every 11 at bats, you can live with the Ks. Moss’s current .570 slugging percentage and .902 OPS are the highest they have been since his 2012 season with the Oakland Athletics.

After hitting just .203 last month with four home runs and 10 RBI in 26 games, Moss has come out on fire in June. In just four games so far this month, Moss is 6-for-11 with four homers and five RBI.

He wasn’t the only one to get in on the fun last night, either. Matt Adams blasted a 3-run home run in the first inning to give the Cardinals a 3-0 lead, and later in the game, Jhonny Peralta parked his first long ball of the year in the left field bleachers.

The power surge has been welcomed on a Cardinals team that was devoid of the long ball last season. The 2015 Cardinals managed just 137 home runs, which ranked 25th in the Majors last year. This season, St. Louis has flipped the script.

Entering play today, the Cardinals are second in the National League with 80 home runs behind the Washington Nationals (81). St. Louis is ranked fifth in all of baseball with those 80 dingers. Moss’ power has played a big part of that equation, and if he continues his torrid start in June then he will get plenty of playing time from here on out.

Home runs are probably one of the most exciting and majestic feats in baseball, and they are fun to watch. Still, this Cardinals team has thrived on pitching the last five years. For Cardinals fans, it has to be exciting to imagine how great this team can be if the starting rotation really begins performing up to expectations.

Next: Brayan Pena Set to Start Rehab Assignment

Until then, this team can continue putting baseballs into the bleachers, but if the pitching doesn’t get it together soon then it may not be enough to get the Cardinals in the postseason for the sixth straight season.