Moss pitched just 23 innings in three college seasons at Florida, losing his first two years to Tommy John surgery before returning to a staff that included five future first-rounders, but the Reds saw enough to draft him in the fourth round in 2016. He made steady progress, leading the Minors with 15 victories in 2018 before going to the Indians last July in the three-team Trevor Bauer blockbuster. He and fellow trade acquisition Logan Allen immediately became the best two lefty starter prospects in Cleveland's system, and Moss recorded a 1.26 ERA in six starts after switching organizations.
While he can't light up radar guns, Moss does miss more than his share of bats. His fastball doesn't climb higher than 94 mph, yet dodges barrels because of its riding life at the top of the strike zone plus the extension in his delivery. He keeps right-handers at bay with his changeup, and he made encouraging progress with the velocity and shape of his slider last summer.
Moss was less hittable last year than he had been in the past, but his control regressed, a dangerous development for a pitcher without much margin for error. If he can regain the strike-throwing ability he displayed in his first three pro seasons, he could become a No. 4 starter. Added to the 40-man roster in November, he should get an opportunity in Cleveland this year.
Scouting grades: Fastball: 50 | Slider: 50 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 50 | Overall: 45
Tommy John surgery wiped out Moss' first two college seasons at Florida, and he pitched sparingly on a loaded 2016 Gators staff that included five future first-rounder. But the Reds saw enough to take him in the fourth round that June, and he has proven healthy and durable since. He led the Minors with 15 wins in 2018 and made a successful jump to Double-A this year before going to the Indians in a three-team trade in July that sent Trevor Bauer to Cincinnati.
Moss won't be a pitcher who wows people with his stuff because all three of his pitches grade as average. But he has a 91-92 mph fastball that gets on hitters quickly because he commands it well and gets excellent extension in his delivery. Scouts liked his slider more than his changeup in 2018, but the latter pitch has been more effective this year.
Though Moss struggled with his control early in the 2019 season, he settled down and resumed throwing strikes. His ceiling is somewhat limited, but he knows what he's doing on the mound and misses enough bats to eventually be a fifth starter or swingman in the big leagues.
Scouting Grades: Fastball: 50 | Slider: 50 | Changeup: 45 | Control: 50 | Overall: 45
Moss barely pitched in college with the University of Florida, first because of Tommy John surgery that kept him out for two years and then because he couldn't break through a ridiculously deep Gators pitching staff in 2016. He got on the mound enough, including a rare start in the SEC Tournament, for the Reds to take a chance and select him in the fourth round of that June's Draft.
Moss's assignment to the Midwest League in 2017 may have seemed a bit conservative for a college arm, but given his lack of mound time and injury history, the goal was to keep him healthy and give him a full season's workload without the pressure of promotion. Mission accomplished, as Moss ended up leading the system in wins while finishing second in strikeouts and sixth in ERA. Moss does it with largely average stuff, but uses his 6-foot-5 frame well, with his 91-92 mph fastball getting on hitters quickly because of excellent extension. Opponents don't get good looks at his slider or improving changeup, either, as deception is a key part of his game.
The Reds think there's more in the tank as Moss logs more innings. With a full, successful year under his belt, it will be interesting to see what kind of step forward the big lefty can take in reaching his back-end starter ceiling.
Scouting Grades: Fastball: 50 | Slider: 50 | Changeup: 40 | Control: 50 | Overall: 45
When Moss had been on the mound as an amateur, scouts liked what they saw. But they didn't get to see him pitch much because of injuries, as the lefty missed his first two years at the University of Florida following Tommy John surgery and then couldn't find a role as a junior in 2016 until he threw a gem in an SEC Tournament semifinal. The Reds liked what they saw enough to roll the dice and take him in fourth round of that year's Draft and he's responded with a solid first pro season.
Pitching more than he has in years, Moss has been working largely with an average fastball, though he's shown he can touch 94-95 in shorter stints, and the Reds are interested to see if that comes back the more he adjusts to pitching consistently. Moss can elicit swings and misses with his slider, but while he has a changeup, he hasn't always been able to show a feel for it. His command has improved the more he's pitched and he has a solid delivery and arm action.
Because of how much time Moss missed in college, the Reds are treating the lefty more like a high school or junior college pitcher in terms of his development. If he can continue to pitch like he did in his first full season, the kid gloves will eventually come off.
Scouting Grades: Fastball: 55 | Slider: 50 | Changeup: 40 | Control: 45 | Overall: 45
There's always been a lot to like about Moss, from his 6-foot-5 frame to his left-handedness and his fastball-slider combination. It's just that scouts hadn't been able to see much of Moss, who missed his first two years at Florida following Tommy John surgery and had been used sparingly this spring. Thrust into a huge spotlight by starting the SEC Tournament semifinal, Moss stepped up big time with six shutout innings.
If he's healthy -- and it's a big if -- Moss has solid stuff to count on. He touched 95 mph during that tourney semifinal and will regularly be up to 93 mph, with arm action and a delivery that are pretty solid. He can elicit swings and misses with his slider, but while he has a changeup, he hasn't been able to show a feel for it. He has struggled with his command, not surprising given how little he's pitched.
Based on talent alone, Moss is a top several rounds talent. It might come down to whether a team's medical staff will give the go-ahead given his injury past. The team that does roll the dice could have a Draft bargain on its hands.