St. Louis Cardinals: Tyson Ross heading to the bullpen
Recently, the St. Louis Cardinals claimed Tyson Ross. He will be starting his Redbird tenure in the bullpen.
In 22 appearances with the Padres this year, Tyson Ross started every single one of them. It was generally thought he would drop into the St. Louis Cardinals rotation. Instead, the team is sticking with youth to start games.
This is an interesting move by the Cardinals, especially considering the pending return of Brett Cecil. However, this does give the bullpen another guy to eat innings when needed, just like Dakota Hudson.
When looking at the splits, Ross is not that great out of the bullpen. He’s logged 75 innings in relief with an ERA of five in his career. Keep in mind that much of his relief came early on, or when he was returning from injury. This will a fun experiment to watch.
In 2018, opposing batters are hitting a meager .170 the first time through the order against Ross. The second time around, that number goes up to a few ticks under .260. That means that he is not easy to solve first time around, which is perfect for the bullpen role he is being thrust into.
By the numbers, Ross likes to use his slider a lot. According to Fangraphs, it is his most frequently used pitch. The luxury out of the bullpen is that he can rely on his breaker and fastball to be successful.
Ross is very successful with his slider, according to Brooks Baseball. This season, opposing hitters are under the Mendoza line against that pitch. His fastball has a batting average against of .250. But, Ross throws five pitches. So he will not just be relying on those two. He will also feature a changeup, sinker, and cutter.
Fit With The Cardinals
Joe Schwarz of The Athletic looked into the effect Mike Maddux has had on the St. Louis Cardinals pitching staff. He really isolated Miles Mikolas as the poster boy for success in the new system. Elevated fastballs is one factor, and elevated breaking pitches early in the count is another.
Now, what Mikolas has that Ross does not is a curveball. It is not likely to see Ross trying to elevate his slider, but his fastball will be. If he can use his the rest of his repertoire to get ahead, his go to strikeout pitch might become an elevated four-seamer.
Outside of what he will look like on the mound, he will be helping the St. Louis Cardinals in a different way. It is no secret that the youthful starters have a ton of potential to make the future rotation scary. Ross to the bullpen allows them to keep gaining MLB experience, while also adding what should be a solid arm to the relief core.
The St. Louis Cardinals made a pretty smart move just getting Ross. He is a cheap arm with experience. But putting him in the bullpen might allow him to thrive, while also teaching the young guys.