Every year since 2012, we’ve spent some time after the season looking back at those that wore the Birds on the Bat. Whether it’s a bit player that got into just a couple of games or someone that played almost every day, we’ll look at their stats, their positives, their negatives, and grade them based on what we would have expected from them. The stat line is from their time in St. Louis, though splits and other numbers may include time with other teams, if applicable. Think of this as like the players packing up their locker and then seeing Mike Shildt before they head off for the winter. Once again, our great header work comes to us from cardinalsgifs, who continues to be a master.
Player: Tyson Ross
Season stats: 2-0, 2.73 ERA, 9 G, 26.1 IP, 20 H, 1 HR, 10 BB, 15 K, 3.65 FIP, 1.139 WHIP, 5.1 K/9, 0.5 bWAR
Hero/Goat: Hero 1
Overall grade: A
Positives: Came over as a waiver claim in early August to shore up the bullpen….his first appearance, however, was an emergency start which saw him give up two runs in six innings and pick up a win….didn’t allow multiple runs again until his last appearance against the Brewers….batters hit .222 against him as a Cardinal….only 38% of the 16 runners he inherited scored and two of those came in that last outing….righthanders hit .176 against him….gave up a .696 OPS in the second half….had a 3.70 ERA after the break….batters hit .203 against him in August….had a 2.66 ERA as a reliever….allowed a .192 BA when receiving two or less runs of support….if batters swung at the first pitch they wound up with a .685 OPS….had a .510 OPS against when ahead in the count….the first batter he faced slashed .154/.290/.231….batters hit .212 against him in medium leverage situations….had a 2.13 ERA in the fourth inning….batters hit .194 in the first 25 pitches, but they OPSd .587 in the second 25….had a 2.12 ERA in Busch Stadium.
Negatives: Had a 4.45 ERA for the Padres, one of the reasons (besides the $200K-per-start clause) that San Diego put him on waivers….had a 1.5 K/BB ratio for the Cardinals….lefties hit .294 against him….had an 8.87 ERA in July (before coming to St. Louis) which stands out like a sore thumb when looking at his other monthly ERAs….had a 5.00 ERA when receiving three to five runs of support….six of the home runs he allowed in 2018 came from fifth-place hitters….batters had a .917 OPS when ahead in the count….batters hit .298 with runners in scoring position….walked 18 batters in 23 first innings….allowed a 1.017 OPS in 20 plate appearances after he reached 100 pitches….both the Cubs and the Brewers hit .300 against him.
Overview: Tyson Ross wasn’t flashy, wasn’t dominating, but he just always seemed to get the job done. He could come into a jam and work his way out of it, then stay in to pitch a couple more effective innings. He threw three or more innings in relief four times as a Cardinal and allowed just two earned runs in those outings. His start against the Royals was solid as well and he basically could do anything St. Louis asked him to do. With the bullpen starting to crater around him, having that veteran longman was vital for Mike Shildt as it allowed him to be a bit more aggressive with his starters. (Ross only came into the game later than the fifth twice as a Cardinal.) Having those kind of workmanlike results can be underrated at times but I think most people appreciated what he did for St. Louis.
Outlook: While I wouldn’t mind him returning as a swingman in 2019, it also feels like Adam Wainwright might be handling that role and it’s also likely Ross will be looking for a place where he can be a starter. If there’s no market for him there I could see the Cards bringing him back on a one year deal, but most likely he’ll be plying his trade elsewhere.