ROBBIE ROSS, LEFT HANDED PITCHER
|Born: June 24, 1989
Height: 5′ 11″
Drafted: 2nd Round, 57th Overall, 2008 (Rangers)
How Acquired: Minor League Free Agent
High School: Lexington (KY) Christian Academy
Agent: Bledsoe Brothers
WTM’s PLAYER PROFILE
|The Rangers developed Ross as a starter and he seemed to be doing very well in that role, but in 2012 he jumped from AA to the majors and also moved to the bullpen. He was successful in that role with Texas and Boston from 2012-16, with the exception of 2014, when Texas tried to move him to the rotation. Ross ran into elbow and back problems in 2017, then had an aborted comeback attempt in 2018. As a reliever, his fastball has generally been around 92-93 mph, but he’s relied on it progressively less often, just half the time in 2016. He throws a curve and slider about evenly the rest of the time. He hasn’t generally had high K rates, but he got his rate over one per inning in 2016, possibly due to increased use of his breaking pitches. For his career he has no platoon split at all, but he had a fairly large one in 2016, again possibly due to him mixing his pitches more. The Pirates signed Ross to a minor league deal for 2019.
After being drafted, Ross signed at the deadline and so didn’t appear in games in 2008. He worked out of the rotation in 2009 in the college-level Northwest League and performed very well. Baseball America named him the Rangers’ seventh best prospect after the season.
Texas sent Ross to low A to open the season and he made 16 starts there, with very good results apart from a low K rate. He had more trouble in 11 starts after a promotion to the high-offense California League, although he did sharply increase his K rate. BA ranked him 19th in the Rangers’ system after the season.
Ross stayed in high A for most of the season, although this time it was the Carolina League. He put up strong numbers there and again in six starts in AA. BA ranked him 14th in the Rangers’ system.
Ross made the Rangers’ staff to start the season and spent all year in the team’s bullpen, despite having pitched almost exclusively as a starter in the minors. He had a successful season, holding opponents to a .624 OPS in 58 games, although his K rate was low.
Ross appeared in 65 games for the Rangers and improved his K rate, although he also got hit a little harder.
Texas tried moving Ross to a starting role and he struggled badly through mid-June, when they sent him to AAA. He continued starting there, with mediocre results, and finally moved back to a relief role in the majors in September. After the season, the Rangers traded him to Boston.
The Red Sox moved Ross back to the bullpen and he pitched well, although he spent a little time in AAA in May and June.
Ross spent the season with the Red Sox and pitched well, including a career-high K rate. He got into 54 games. Although it hasn’t been a career trend, he was extremely tough on left-handed batters, holding them to a 188/320/225 line. Right-handers had a 254/333/341 line.
The Red Sox optioned Ross to AAA briefly in April and then again in May, but they rescinded the latter option and put Ross on the disabled list with elbow inflammation. He didn’t return and also had back surgery later in the year. After the season, Boston outrighted him to AAA; he declined the assignment and became a free agent.
The White Sox signed Ross to a minor league deal during spring training. He missed a month starting in mid-May and, in the end, appeared in only 11 AAA games. He couldn’t throw strikes and the Sox released him in June.
Ross’ chances of contributing to the Pirates will depend on whether he can get back to his 2016 form. It’s not clear whether his 2018 problems were due to continuing health issues.
|2019: Minor league salary
|Signing Bonus: $1,575,000
MiLB Debut: 2009
MLB Debut: 4/8/2012
MiLB FA Eligible: 2019
MLB FA Eligible: 2019
Rule 5 Eligible: Eligible
Added to 40-Man: 4/4/2012 (since removed)
Options Remaining: 1 (USED: 2014, 2015)
MLB Service Time: 5.098
|June 5, 2008: Drafted by the Texas Rangers in the 2nd round, 57th overall pick; signed on August 15.
April 4, 2012: Contract purchased by the Texas Rangers.
January 27, 2015: Traded by the Texas Rangers to the Boston Red Sox for Anthony Ranaudo.
November 2, 2017: Outrighted to AAA by the Boston Red Sox; refused assignment and became a free agent.
March 4, 2018: Signed as a minor league free agent by the Chicago White Sox.
June 9, 2018: Released by the Chicago White Sox.
March 4, 2019: Signed as a minor league free agent by the Pittsburgh Pirates.