Down on the Farm: Checking in on the Nationals’ Top-10 Prospects

7 of 11

Feb 21, 2014; Peoria, AZ, USA; San Diego Padres starting pitcher

Joe Ross

(66) poses for a photo during photo day at Peoria Sports Complex. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

No. 5: Joe Ross, RHP – Double-A Harrisburg

Joe Ross is a right-handed pitcher whom the Nationals acquired from the Padres as part of last month’s 11-player, three team trade that sent the team’s former No. 5 prospect, Steven Souza Jr., to the Rays.

The Padres drafted Ross with the 25th overall pick in the 2011 First-Year Player draft. The right-hander struggled during his first few years in the minors but really made strides in 2014, earning a promotion to Double-A San Antonio.

In 2014, the best season of his professional career, Ross went 10-6 with a 3.92 ERA and a career-high 106 strikeouts over 121 2/3 innings with Class A Fort Wayne and San Antonio.

The right-hander was rewarded for his great season in the Single-A California League, being named a California League All-Star.

Ross, 21, relies on a mid-90’s fastball and a power slider. The right-hander’s 6-foot-4 frame allows him to throw his fastball at a downhill angle and induce plenty of ground balls. If Ross can develop his changeup into a third above-average pitch, he should develop into a solid big league starter.