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Roster review: Joe Ross

Oct 27, 2015, 6:00 AM EDT

USA Today Sports Images

Age on Opening Day 2016: 22

How acquired: Trade from Padres with SS Trea Turner for OF Steven Souza Jr. and LHP Travis Ott (both sent to Rays as part of 3-team deal).

MLB service time: 94 days

2015 salary+bonuses: $507,500

Contract status: Under team control in 2016, arbitration-eligible in 2019, free agent in 2022.

2015 stats: 16 G, 13 GS, 76.2 IP, 64 H, 33 R, 31 ER, 7 HR, 21 BB, 69 K, 1.109 WHIP, 5-5, 3.64 ERA, 3.42 FIP, 1.4 WAR

Quotable: “Joe had an incredible season. For a guy that just turned 22 a couple months ago, he showed the poise and the stuff of a seasoned pro. We really liked him coming into the season. As you can see, he has exceeded everybody’s expectation on his developmental curve and the time it took him to get to the big leagues, and how he performed in the big leagues.” — Mike Rizzo on Joe Ross

2015 analysis: Little attention was given to Joe Ross when the Nationals joined up with the Rays and Padres to complete a 3-team trade in December. The key acquisition in that deal figured to be Trea Turner … once the young shortstop was allowed to be named six months following his initial signing. By that point, Ross had already made his major-league debut and already was making a strong impression on everyone.

The right-hander proved to be polished well beyond his years, often pitching and comporting himself like a seasoned veteran. His ability to keep the ball in the strike zone — he issued only four walks in his first seven career starts — immediately stood out as a rare trait for a rookie and helped keep Ross in the Nationals’ rotation for most of the summer.

There were a few hiccups along the way, and Ross did show signs of fatigue as he reached September. With his total workload — minors and majors — approaching 150 innings, Ross was removed from the rotation down the stretch but was allowed to pitch out of the bullpen three times in the season’s final few weeks, so he wasn’t shut down completely by the organization.

2016 outlook: Who knew Ross would enter 2016 as a strong candidate (maybe even close to a lock) to make the Nationals’ Opening Day rotation, but that’s the situation he’ll be in when he reports to Viera for his first-ever big-league spring training.

The Nats will look for Ross to build off his strong rookie year while also refining a few things. They’ll want him to display a bit more consistency, especially as the season wears on. The fact he has now been through an entire season should help him deal with long-term physical and mental demands of the job.

If he can take that next step, Ross could well turn into a key piece of the Nationals’ long-term pitching plan.

  1. alexva6 - Oct 27, 2015 at 7:26 AM

    he displayed a very good mound presence throughout the year and remained unhittable even after he lost some of his command. I hope they take it slowly with this guy, not sure he is ready to slot in as a #3 starter for a whole season yet.

    • npb99 - Oct 27, 2015 at 11:53 AM

      Mound presence – exactly. He just didn’t seem to be a rookie out there.

  2. TimDz - Oct 27, 2015 at 8:12 AM

    Guessing he’ll be good for about 180 innings this year?

  3. saintpaddy - Oct 27, 2015 at 8:42 AM

    He was one of the few bright spots on the Nats this year. I enjoyed watching him pitch and being our consistent secret weapon. I was listening to the game the night he lost his command and was dismayed that he might be injured. So glad the young man proved to the fans and the team that HE was the one we should have prized in that trade just as much as Trea Turner. I am looking forward to 2016 because of very special talents like this man and the Nats improving next year!

  4. ArVAFan - Oct 27, 2015 at 8:56 AM

    He’s a great story all the way around. Nice that the Padres let his brother come to his ML debut game.

    I think he’s a great piece of our future. I wanted to get a ball from his debut game at Nats Park, but there never were any available for sale (I’m guessing they all went to “friends and family”). I “settled” for the final strikeout from his first Nats Park win.

    And yes, I would think 180 innings would be about right.

    If Bud Black turns out to be our manager, maybe he can coach him on the proper use of the rosin bag?

    • Doc - Oct 27, 2015 at 9:40 AM

      If Black makes the ‘cut’, it would be interesting to hear his take on the Turner-Joe Cool trade.

      And yes, seems that the use of the rosin bag would be something learned in early instructional league ball.

    • funnationals - Oct 27, 2015 at 4:10 PM

      Try getting a ball from his first win vs. the Brewers

      I got a Harper ball that he hit for a single and was used up until Desmond fouled it off, what the authenticator didn’t note was the ball was also hit for a single by Ramos then hit for a fly by Espinosa before being fouled by Desi, ten+ pitches total. Plus it was also Joe Ross’s first win on June 13

  5. tcostant - Oct 27, 2015 at 9:36 AM

    Question, when you list “2015 salary+bonuses: $507,500” was the amount received? Or was $507K his base salary and prorated for when he was in the minors.


    • Mark Zuckerman - Oct 27, 2015 at 10:25 AM

      Good question. That is the full-season MLB minimum salary, so Ross’ actual amount received would be roughly $277,000 (prorated for the 94 days he spent on the big-league roster) plus whatever his minor-league salary was for the rest of the season.

      • TimDz - Oct 27, 2015 at 10:33 AM

        227K for 94 days….

        I REALLY should have paid better attention in Gym class….

      • Eugene in Oregon - Oct 27, 2015 at 11:34 AM

        In my case, gym class would have been irrelevant. My parents should have paid better attention in genetics class.

  6. TimDz - Oct 27, 2015 at 10:14 AM

    Regarding Bud/Dusty….
    Since the WS starts today, I am guessing that there will not be any announcement on the new skipper until after the series is concluded, as MLB is loathe to have any other baseball announcements to be made during this time.

    • veejh - Oct 27, 2015 at 10:20 AM

      I heard them say that last night. Maybe we’ll hear something soon.

    • ehay2k - Oct 27, 2015 at 10:32 AM

      Maybe ARod will announce something!

      • Susanfaulkner - Oct 28, 2015 at 10:15 AM

        Arod really? Of all people to be announcing. I’m not saying it had to be someone from the Nats(would have been nice) but come on. Alot of stand up people in MLB that could have been picked.

    • ArVAFan - Oct 27, 2015 at 10:40 AM

      Well, if they don’t announce today, remember what happened two years ago? The news leaked out, WS or no WS. I’d like to think they’d learned from that–there are no secrets in the Internet Age (OK, maybe an exception for Rizzo roster moves, but that’s about it).

  7. nats106 - Oct 27, 2015 at 2:18 PM

    Like a broken clock, right once a day (or year in my case). My comment from June 4 regarding the pitcher for a Saturday game:

    nats106 – Jun 4, 2015 at 1:02 PM
    They made a call to Sec 106 last night. I told them I wasn’t available so my money is on Joe Ross. Got to bring in those AA guys from Harrisburg sometime…..

    And after his promotion:

    nats106 – Jun 5, 2015 at 2:17 PM
    Nice to see the Nationals finally taking my advice. (Please refer back to my comment on the Mets 6 Man rotation)

    I’m so confident he will do well I’m going to pick him up in both my fantasy baseball leagues

    nats128 – Jun 5, 2015 at 2:35 PM
    Hold on, you think the Nats are going to a 6 man rotation?

    nats106 – Jun 5, 2015 at 2:37 PM
    haha. No, but I’ll take a flyer on Joe for a game or two.

    I see lots of other folks touting their prior posts, so I took a few minutes to gloat a little on this one.

    I foresee great things for Joe Ross. He got hit hard later in the year but made adjustments. He’s not only a very good pitcher, but a very smart one. Composed doesn’t describe him well enough on the mound. How he handles future adjustments will determine how very good he can be.

    Back to hibernation!





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