Cody Ross had a solid season for the Red Sox as he went deep 22 times while knocking in 81 runs. Some folks around Boston seem to think that Ross is the second coming of Jim Rice. I’m here to tell you he’s not the second coming of Dwight Evans, not even close. What is Ross? He’s a solid 5th outfielder in mixed leagues in fantasy baseball, nothing more, no matter what anyone tells you. Let’s investigate.
NOTE: The D’backs signed Ross to a 3-year, $26 million deal. That’s a bit much for my liking, not crazy high but a bit much. Moreover, his signing overloads the D’backs with outfielders so it seems likely that Jason Kubel or Justin Upton could be dealt to open up playing time for Ross, Adam Eaton, Gerardo Parra and either Kubel/Upton. I don’t know what the D’backs are doing. See my Player Profile of Justin Upton.
Ross had a great season if you ask Red Sox fans. My reply to that is that he had a great season relative to the abysmal effort of the Red Sox last season. In the grander scheme of things, “great season” can only be applied to Ross if you mean it in the sense of the return on your draft day investment (there were tons of mixed leagues where he wasn’t drafted, and in that situation 21 homers and 81 RBIs is a great season). Some perspective from your favorite downer (that’s me by the way).
After batting .282 in his first 49 games Ross batted .237 over his last 81 games leading to a .267 average on the year. What part of that looks good to you? It should also be noted that the AL batting average last season was .256 and that outfielders hit .265 (Ross is a .262 career hitter). He’s barely treading water here.
More of the same… for the fourth straight season Ross had an OBP in the .320′s, hardly a shock given his career .324 mark. Last season the AL average was .320 making Ross blah as blah gets. Ross also posted a 0.33 BB/K ratio, a tenth below the league average and virtually identical to his career 0.34 mark. It deserves to be noted as well that his 24.4 K-rate was a career worst for a season of at least 150 at-bats.
Ross finished the year with 22 homers, the third time he has reached 20 homers and two off his career best of 24. However, he hit only nine homers over his final 74 games and just six over his last 56 contests. What you see is what you get here. Ross’ 14.9 percent HR/F ratio was actually a five years high, but it still didn’t lead to a big time homer mark cause he just isn’t that strong a hitter.
His RBI total of 81 was the second best of his career (he had 90 in 2009). At the same time that number is far from impressive for a guy who played for the Red Sox and had a change to play half his games at Fenway.
His run scored mark of 70 was the third time in four years he reached that level. Still, it’s not a very impressive number for a mixed league outfielder, is it?
He stole two bases while being caught three times. Over the last three seasons he’s stolen 16 bases. Yippee.
So here is what I see. Tell me there I’m wrong.
For his career Ross has hit .262. For his career the league average is .264.
For his career Ross has a .324 OBP. The league average is .334.
For his carer Ross has a .460 SLG. The league average is .420.
For his career Ross has a .783 OPS. The league average is .753.
Per 150 games played Ross has produced a fantasy line of .262-21-76-67-5. None of that stands out in any way. I would also be remiss if I didn’t note that in a career that began back in 2003 that Ross has played 150 games only twice. Part of the reason for that is that he undershoots his already boring career numbers when he faces right-handed pitching: .253/.312/.415. I’m sorry D’backs fans, but this guys isn’t anything special. The only way that Ross is truly worthy of paying attention to in a mixed league he must convince his employers to give him 500 at-bats. Even with 500 at-bats your still looking at a guy who is barely average across the board. You can do better when it comes to late round gambles in the fantasy game.
By Ray Flowers