Rangers Taking Calculated Risk on Tyson Ross

Tyson Ross

                                                    Tyson Ross-Photo Credit-chicagostylesports.com

Despite winning the AL West by 9 games and winning 95 games in 2016, the Texas Rangers finished 22 out of the 30 MLB clubs in overall pitching with a 4.37 ERA and 1.37 WHIP. The Ranger’s pitching staff allowed a .260 batting average against to opposing hitters and a .424 slugging percentage. Texas finished in the middle of the pack (16 out of 30) in starting pitching with a 4.38 ERA. The Rangers may have won a lot of games in 2016, but their run differential was only +7. They didn’t beat their competition by much throughout the season and below average pitching could be contributed as a big factor.

With ace Yu Darvish pitching in only 17 games after recovering from Tommy John surgery and neck problems the Rangers did not have the pitching to go deep into October. That put the brunt of the workload on fellow co-ace Cole Hamels. The rest of the rotation (Derek Holland, Colby Lewis, were either injured or ineffective.

This winter the Rangers are making upgrading their starting rotation a priority. Recently they took a calculated risk by signing former San Diego right hander Tyson Ross to a one-year 6 million dollar deal. It appears the upside with Ross is worth the gamble. While Ross appeared in just one game in 2016 before missing the rest of the season with shoulder problems and thoracic outlet syndrome, he was one of the better young right handed starters in the National League.

Before the injuries Ross was always durable throwing over 516 innings between 2013 and 2015. During those seasons he posted a 3.07 ERA and induced ground balls over a 58.2 percentage clip. During that span he also struck out 9.2 per nine innings and walked 3.5 per nine.

The 2014-2015 seasons were perhaps his finest with the Padres. In 2014 he posted a 13-14 record with a 2.81 ERA while pitching 195.2 innings. That year he whiffed 195 and posted a 1.2 WHIP. The following season he finished with a 10-12 record and a 3.26 ERA in 196 frames. He struck out 212 in 2015 and finished with 7.6 and 7.9 hits per nine innings respectively in both years.

Overall he has thrown 670 innings and has a career 3.64 ERA. He is still young enough at 30-years old to possibly recover his old form. However the track record of pitchers recovering from thoracic outlet syndrome and serious shoulder problems has never been good. The prognosis is that Ross will pitch in 2017 but will be unlikely to be ready by opening day.

The Rangers lost Yovani Gallardo earlier this winter but were rumored to be in on free agent Jason Hammel. They finally decided to pass on Hammel and instead inked Ross. The Padres non-tendered Ross last month who was earning over 9 million dollars last season. The Rangers weren’t the only club interested in the tall right hander as the Cubs and Nationals expressed interest as well. If Darvish gets hurt again and rotation mainstays like Colby Lewis and Derek Holland are unable to answer the bell, then the Rangers might have to hope for an early season return to form from Ross. They could definitely use some quality innings in the middle of their rotation and this low buy high reward acquisition may pay off in the end for the Rangers.

 

Scott Andes-Owner/writer ladodgerreport.com

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