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Logjam At Second Base

June 3, 2003
By Jim Salisbury

PHILADELPHIA--With Placido Polanco in the majors and Chase Utley at Triple-A, the Phillies figure to be set at second base for a while.

That didn't stop them from selecting University of Texas second baseman Tim Moss in the third round of the draft. Moss was selected 85th overall. The Phils did not have a first- or second-round pick. They forfeited them to Cleveland and San Francisco after signing free agents Jim Thome and David Bell.

Moss, 21, hit .320 in 64 games for the Longhorns. He had a .405 on-base percentage and stole 18 bases. Some reports say Moss' plate discipline needs work; he struck out 46 times and walked 27 times.

Moss, a 5-foot-10, 175-pounder, actually had a better season last year when he hit .371 with 41 steals as a sophomore. Moss made 16 errors this season and some clubs view him as an outfield candidate. But scouting director Marti Wolever said Moss will begin his pro career as a second baseman, even though the Phillies have depth at the position.

"Right now, he's a second baseman," Wolever said emphatically. "We anticipate him staying there unless he plays himself off the position.

"Dave Owen (Phillies scout and former major league infielder) thinks he can play second base, and that's good enough for me."

Wolever said Moss had the potential to have some pop in his bat. "He's not just a singles, doubles hitter," Wolever said. "He's got some good gap power." Wolever added that Moss "has great makeup and plays hard." The Phillies targeted top-of-the-order speed with their first three picks. Moss rated close to a 70 runner on the Phillies' 20-to-80 scouting scale. Fourth-rounder Michael Bourn, a center fielder from the University of Houston, rated an 80 in speed. Javon Moran of Auburn, also a center fielder, was the team's fifth-round pick.

With Thome, Pat Burrell and Bobby Abreu set in the major league lineup for years to come, the Phils felt they needed some table-setting speed.

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