Tyson Ross Has Been Everything the Padres Could’ve Asked For

Credit: AP Photo

Credit: AP Photo

When the Padres acquired Chase Headley from the Yankees, and then signed Tyson Ross and Chris Young to minor league contracts, the jokes began of hoping to bring back Jake Peavy and seeing what Everth Cabrera was up to, essentially scoffing at the idea of bringing back re-tread Padres of old.

Laugh all you want, but Tyson Ross has been one of the best pitchers, nay, players, on the Padres’ roster a month into 2018. When he was acquired, along with Chris Young, some thought he wouldn’t make it out of camp. To be fair to the skeptics and doubters (I was more in the “so this is what it’s come to?” crowd), he had made just 13 appearances over the previous two seasons for a combined ERA of 8.12.

His brief stint last season with the Rangers did not go well as he appeared in 12 games with a 7.71 ERA with 37 walks to just 36 strikeouts. This was after his thoracic outlet surgery in fall of 2016. That is something from which it is difficult to battle back. He admitted he wasn’t himself when he pitched in Texas just a few months after the surgery.

Now he has had an entire offseason to work on his craft and get stronger instead of rehabbing from surgery. That has made a huge difference early on in 2018. Ross, now 31, is pitching some of the best baseball of his nine-year career. He is just a couple of weeks removed from flirting with the first no-hitter in Padres history, taking it to  7 2/3 innings, with 10 strikeouts. Some fatigue was inevitable after that as he lasted just four innings his next outing in Colorado.

On Tuesday night, he did what he has excelled at lately and bounced back for another solid start in the Padres’ victory over the Giants. This season, in six starts, Ross has a respectable 3.28 ERA with an above-average 115 ERA+ and a 2.83 FIP (anything below 4.20 is considered better than average).

Without Ross, how much worse would the starting rotation situation be right now?

With Dinelson Lamet’s injury, Luis Perdomo’s demotion, Clayton Richard’s inconsistencies, and Bryan Mitchell’s ineptitude, Ross is all of a sudden one of the anchors in the rotation, along with Joey Lucchesi. Eric Lauer seems to be trending upward as well.

The key now will be sustaining this modest success over the remaining five months of the season. Ross has not thrown over 49 innings since 2015. With how the rest of the rotation is looking, Ross may be asked to shoulder a significant workload.

It’s been so far, so good for Ross. He is clearly healthier than last year when he had both his strikeouts per nine innings and walks per nine innings around 6.5. Now his strikeout rate is 10.1 K/9 while his walks have dipped to 3.3 BB/9. He hasn’t done this against the Pensacola Blue Wahoos either. The Padres have beaten the first place Diamondbacks, the pesky Rockies, and the Giants twice when he has started games, and the Friars are 4-2 overall when he takes the hill.

Ross has been everything the Padres could have hoped for when they signed him to fill out a shallow and vulnerable starting rotation.

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