“What’s it short for? ¬†Ya know, like Rosstopher?” ¬†“Just Ross!”
I had cautious optimism heading into the year for Tyson Ross, and he looked pretty wild early on. ¬†And not the good kind of wild. ¬†No one in San Diego is wearing Wild Thing-Ross T-Shirts. ¬†I caught most of his debut against the Dodgers, and he didn’t look right. ¬†Hitchy delivery, lower velocity, and terrible control. ¬†Since he was fringy anyway, in the one league I owned him (deeper 10-team), I cut him loose for some scrub closer. ¬†I don’t even know who, probably Matt Lindstrom, who at least vultured a win for me yesterday.
Anyway, I saw Ross was bad again in his second effort, racking up 9 walks to only 9 Ks through two games, somehow escaping with a 4.50 ERA because he piled up 6 unearned runs. ¬†Needless to say, I was pretty content to ignore him, but yesterday he turned it around against the offensively-charged Tigers. ¬†Since it’s still early, maybe he had an early mechanical issue that got worked out, and he’s back to picking up where 2013 left off. ¬†So I decided to break down his start, and see if he needs to be scooped off waivers in leagues where he was dropped or undrafted:
First Inning:¬†The first pitch is a 92 MPH fastball to Rajai Davis. ¬†Even on the first pitch, his delivery looks a little less hitchy than that first start I saw. ¬†93 MPH is another called strike, then a slider gets an easy flyout to left, one down. ¬†94 MPH fastball again is in the zone to Ian Kinsler, Ross bends in a slider for a strike for back-to-back 0-2 counts, a heater is fouled off, then again fastball at 95 gets an easy groundout, two down. ¬†The announcers are now talking about how much smoother Ross looks as well – maybe something has changed. ¬†95 MPH fastball is low to Torii Hunter, a good slider makes it 1-1, Ross misses with a fastball then another is fouled off, 2-2. ¬†A good slider almost gets a swing but it dips low, then another slider gets a pop out to short, 1-2-3 inning to get it started.
Second Inning:¬†A rolling slider stays high to Miguel Cabrera, then a 91 MPH fastball is in the dirt and outside, and this is the Ross I saw in his debut. ¬†Ross gets a slider in there, 2-1, then somehow Cabrera is late on a 93 MPH fastball 2-2. ¬†A hot Miggy kills that one. ¬†The 2-2 is a 95 MPH fastball that almost paints the outside corner, very close. ¬†Probably his best pitch thus far.
Then 94 on the fastball gets Cabrera swinging for his first K. ¬†Ross misses to Victor Martinez twice, then a fastball is hit pretty hard to left, but it’s caught in front of the track for the second out. ¬†Fastball misses, then is in there, 1-1 to Austin Jackson followed by a slider that gets in there, 1-2. ¬†Slider is way outside, then a ¬†rolling slider that stays high is fouled off, fastball fouled off, then the 2-2 slider gets a tight late break into the dirt and Jackson swings and misses. ¬†That wasn’t a great pitch, started low from the get go, but Jackson chased a bad one.
Third Inning:¬†Ross starts the 3rd with a 92 MPH fastball outside, hits virtually the same spot, 2-0 to Nick Castellanos, then a slider gets a big hack and miss, 2-1. ¬†Another slider is in there, then a 94 MPH fastball gets a swing-and-miss, three straight Ks for Ross. ¬†Alex Gonzalez looks at a fastball for a strike, then a 95 MPH fastball gets an inside out swing for a single. ¬†A 92 MPH fastball gets bunted by Max Scherzer ¬†and it’s a good one, moving Gonzalez to second with two outs. ¬†A very very nice slider gets a swing-and-miss from Davis, who hurts his hamstring on the swing.
Probably Ross’ best slider so far, and thankfully Davis is OK. ¬†Another big slider gets another empty swing, Ross again goes slider and Davis nubs it, and it’s hit so soft Davis gets an infield single. ¬†While a lucky hit, Ross went to his third straight slider with Davis badly fooled on the first two, and hung that one a little bit. ¬†Predictable pitch there, and Ross didn’t deliver a good one – another slider in the dirt gets a K. ¬†Runners first and third with two outs, and the first pitch is a slider that Kinsler hits to second to end the inning.
Fourth Inning:¬†41 pitches so far for Ross (using his fastball and slider combo exclusively) and he starts Hunter with a fastball that looked outside to me but gets the call, then he’s for sure outside 1-1, then a 92 MPH fastball is hit hard down the right field line for a leadoff double. ¬†Not a good pitch, velocity not great, big contact. ¬†First pitch to Miggy is a slider and Cabrera laces it hard to right, but it’s caught on the run on the track. ¬†Can you say Petco?! ¬†Probably off the wall if not a homer in most parks. ¬†Hunter moves to third, then the first pitch to V Mart is a fastball that Martinez crushes up the middle for an RBI single. ¬†Ross is getting hammered right now. ¬†But he responds well with a really good slider to Austin Jackson that gets a whiff, then is high with it, 1-1. ¬†A really good two seamer eats up Jackson for a foul, 1-2. ¬†Haven’t seen a lot of that running action today, so that’ll help his arsenal. ¬†An 86 MPH slider stays right down the middle, but Jackson is in front of it for a swing-and-miss. ¬†Jackson was looking fastball and was late, and it’s 4 Ks for Ross. ¬†Castellanos comes up empty with another good slider from Ross, then a fastball gets a late swing, quickly 0-2. ¬†Ross has responded really well after three straight hitters got good contact. ¬†A slider is way outside, then one is fouled, and a pretty good 94 MPH fastball gets poked to second for a pretty easy groundout to end the inning.
Fifth Inning: Ross gets some actual run support, surprisingly picking up a 4-1 lead against Scherzer, and a slider catches the outside corner to Gonzalez to start the 5th. ¬†A high slider gets a bad swing from Gonzalez who fouls it back 0-2, then another slider is outside in the dirt, 1-2. ¬†A fastball at 91, I think a two-seamer, gets a pretty hard hit groundout to third, one down. ¬†Fastball at 91 is a strike to Scherzer, a 93 MPH fastball is fouled off, 0-2. ¬†Slider is outside, 94 MPH fastball fouled off, then a 93 MPH fastball is smoked up the gap, but Jedd Gyorko makes a web gem of a diving stop and gets Scherzer out at first. ¬†Petco and defense helping Ross today! ¬†First pitch to Davis is a good slider taken for strike one, then a fastball hits Davis in the arm. ¬†Rough game for Davis at the plate, almost threw out his hammy on a bad swing then gets beaned. ¬†Ross almost picks off Davis, nice pickoff move there, and Ross then throws a bad fastball where his mechanics looked jacked up again, 0-1.
Maybe it’s pitching from the stretch that messed up that pitch. ¬†Then to the slider, and Kinsler gets just enough of it to the third base side of short that¬†Everth Cabrera can’t make the play and it’s infield single. ¬†That was hit decently though. ¬†Slider gets him ahead of Hunter 0-1, then another slider gets a swing-and-miss, 0-2. ¬†Again to the slider outside, and Hunter can’t hold his swing in time for another K for Ross. ¬†Bad hack there from Hunter, and Ross gets out of it.
Sixth Inning:¬†At 71 pitches, he gets ahead of Miggy, then a fastball way outside, 1-1. ¬†Again, just not the same mechanics, and again he looks wonky and a fastball is way off the plate, 2-1.
Looking back at the GIF, it looks like he’s falling off to the first base side. ¬†A much better fastball gets a foul tip, 2-2, then a fastball is hit pretty hard towards the gap, but Everth ranges to it and makes a great play. ¬†Another big play from that infield defense for Ross. ¬†86 MPH slider bends in for strike one to V Mart, an 88 MPH change-up gets a strike, haven’t seen that yet, then 93 MPH fastball gets a lazy popout to shallow right. ¬†Two down. ¬†Fastball is outside to AJax, then slider bends low, another slider gets the top black 2-1, then a slider is way outside, 3-1. ¬†Fastball gets fouled off, then another slider is outside and Ross walks his first better. ¬†Credit Ross for lasting this long without giving a free pass! ¬†Castellanos fouls the first-pitch fastball out of play, fastball is high, then another fastball is murdered to left, but Seth Smith at full sprint and full extension robs Castellanos of at least a double. ¬†Easily would’ve plated Jackson at first, and the defense makes another big play for Ross.
Seventh Inning: ¬†At 88 pitches, Ross starts Gonzalez with a 91 MPH fastball for a strike, then a two-seamer is fouled off, then a good fastball at 93 gets some good sink for Ross’ 6th K. ¬†Pinch-hitter Tyler Collins fouls one back, then an 86 MPH change-up gets the zone, nice pitch there. ¬†A really good slider gets a swing-and-miss, and quick work for his 7th K. ¬†Slider is high to Davis, fastball fouled off, then a slider low, 2-1. ¬†An 85 MPH slider gets hit hard between short and third for a single. ¬†Nice hitting from Davis there. ¬†A slider is low to Kinsler, and Ross’ final pitch is a two-seamer that is hit hard right to Gyorko who makes the play to first.
Final Line: ¬†W ¬†7 IP ¬†100 Pitches (71 Strikes) ¬†1 ER ¬†7 Hits ¬†1 Walk ¬†7 K ¬†Gamescore: 67 ¬†¬†Gamescore+: 67.8
Final Analysis: ¬†Well, the stat line looked good, but I was not impressed. ¬†My Gamescore+ calculation was right at his real Gamescore, but I still think Ross got luckier than the line would indicate. ¬†Miguel Cabrera had a liner caught on the Petco track in the 4th that would’ve been a homer in a lot of parks, and Ross got three dazzling defensive plays behind him. ¬†This could’ve been a lot worse, but I do credit him for only allowing one walk.
Including this start, Fangraphs has his average fastball velocity at 91.6 compared to 94.2 last year. ¬†It was up a tick here and there during this start topping out at 95, but when I saw him last year, he was consistently 94-96 and he was usually 91-93 yesterday. ¬†It’s early still, but that’s pretty substantial. ¬†Mixing the fastball with a really good slider, it’s a solid 1-2 punch. ¬†We only saw a few change-ups and that’s it for his arsenal. ¬†I’d like to see more pitches from a starter, and Ross able to work in that change-up a bit more.
So to those mechanics. ¬†I’ve never really liked his delivery even when it’s smoothed out, with a short stride and weird arm motion that doesn’t seem very textbook. ¬†Not that it matters if your delivery is “textbook”, but one hiccup and Ross gets messed up. ¬†He went out of his normal motion at times, and when a guy falls in and out of his mechanics in a start, I’m leery to trust him.
Another factor helping out Ross was only Victor Martinez hitting as a lefty in that Tigers order. ¬†Last year, Ross held righties to .199 vs. .251 to lefties. ¬†.206 to .290 in a small sample this year as well. ¬†Overall, I think if you can single out a start at home against a predominately right-handed line-up, Ross could be a good spot start. ¬†But that’s really picking and choosing, and I didn’t see enough in this start for me to grab him in 10 or 12ers. ¬†I’d sell high in deeper leagues if I could. ¬†Maybe he can get that delivery consistent, but I’m not going to be able to trust him as a sure-fire starter until I see it a few starts in a row.
JB’s Updated Top 100 SP
(rankings based on 12-team Roto – green for risers, red for fallers)
- Tough tough injury for Alex Cobb, who shoots down the list with his oblique injury. ¬†I’ll lean towards the 6 weeks out, which is quite a blow. ¬†“Tobias you blowhard!”
- So I guess I must admit I was wrong on Pineda, who had a lot of backing from you loyal commenters. ¬†I don’t put too much stock into the pine tar thing, but after this week’s start against the Cubs, I’m selling high with it likely a good one. ¬†He’ll have a microscope on him, but should be able to dominate anyway… Couldn’t ask for a better start to prove the haters wrong. ¬† Then in your sales pitch you can be like, “see he doesn’t need pine tar!” to a skeptical leaguemate.
- Drew Smyly is finally starting. ¬†Rejoice! ¬†Almost moved him down, which would’ve made me frowny.
- Man, Yordano Ventura is so friggin’ good. ¬†Remember when I ranked him higher than everywhere else? Andddddd, I moved him up.
- Andrew Cashner I heard had a good game this weekend. ¬†I won’t call you out hating commenter, but I think I’m looking pretty good with his rank. ¬†We’ll just call this commenter by his witsec name: John of the Blending In. ¬†Before you say how good Gray is doing, a 1.21 WHIP and a 0.95 ERA don’t jive. ¬†Still think he’s good, but no Cashner :).
- Chris Archer looked very solid and I’m regretting my original rank. ¬†I think he’s in store for a big year, and now is like the Rays #2. ¬†Sheesh.
- I want to move Kazmir up with his great start, but these triceps are annoying. ¬†Somebody show him those P90X exercises that had my triceps burning for days!
- Chris Tillman has started off strong proving me wrong, and looks really good. ¬†Forced to bump him up a tad.
- I got some hate for the Burnett ranking heading into the year, and he now owns a 10:14 K:BB rate. ¬†Ouch.
- Speaking of ouch, Matt Moore I think is destined for TJ and Mat Latos has a jacked up elbow on top of coming back from knee surgery. ¬†Not a good week for baseball Mat[t]s.
- I’m still not worried about Homer Bailey, and would buy low. ¬†His HR/FB rate through two starts is 100%. ¬†I doubt that’s sustainable! ¬†Has given up 11 line drives though – that needs to go down. ¬†It will help once he pitches to a team that isn’t the Cardinals.
- I’m sticking with my love for Porcello, but benching him this week against the Angels. ¬†Got shelled in both starts against them last year for a preposterous 28.80 ERA 4.40 WHIP. ¬†Hah! ¬†Deeper leagues can maybe buy low after that start if it’s poopy.
- Jason Hammel’s BABIP in two starts is .063. ¬†Just wanted to share that when I considered adding him in this week.
As always, let me know your thoughts on the rankings or on this Ross start and let’s look forward to a two-start Yordano this week!