Washington Nationals: Joe Ross’s 2016 Report Card

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Jun 22, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Washington Nationals pitcher Joe Ross (41) delivers a pitch against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 22, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Washington Nationals pitcher Joe Ross (41) delivers a pitch against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /
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Today’s Washington Nationals player review takes a look at how Joe Ross did in his second season

During the 2015 regular season, Joe Ross was able to shine in the Washington Nationals starting rotation. He went 5-5 and had a 3.64 ERA in 13 starts after being called up from double-A in June of that season. He showed strong poise and good command in most of his outings.

The storyline going into this season involving Ross was how he would do in his first full season in the rotation. Right out of the gate, the 23-year-old right-hander got off to a great start. In his first four starts, he went 3-0 with a 0.79 ERA and held opponents to a .195 batting average.

Once the month of May began, Ross struggled to find a win. He lost four straight games to begin the month before getting back on the winning track against the Cardinals on May 21. Ross didn’t get much run support during those games. In his six May starts, the Washington Nationals combined to score 11 runs.

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While Ross didn’t struggle with giving up home runs like Max Scherzer did, he had his own problems with giving up the long ball. From May 10-June 22, Ross gave up one home run in eight starts over that ten start span. While he went undefeated in June (2-0 in five starts), his ERA in that month was 5.22.

After an outing against the Reds on July 2 where Ross gave up four runs on ten hits in 5.1 innings, the Washington Nationals placed him on the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation. He did not make his return to the rotation until September 18 against the Braves.

With not much time to get ready for the postseason, Ross was able to throw 90 pitches in his final outing of the regular season against Arizona (September 29). However, he didn’t throw more than four innings in any of his last three starts and teams hit .326 during that span.

In Game 4 of the NLDS against the Dodgers, Ross took the mound at Dodger Stadium with a chance to send the Washington Nationals to the next round. But, Ross struggled in his playoff debut and lacked the poise fans were used to seeing from him. He went 2.2 innings, gave up four runs on three hits, struck out three, walked two, and hit a batter on 55 pitches.

Overall, Ross went 7-5 with a 3.43 ERA in 19 starts during the regular season. His numbers in terms of strikeout and walk ratio didn’t change at all from 2015. Ross’ walk ratio stayed at 2.5 per nine innings and he’s still striking out eight batters per nine innings.

Even with the sinker that Ross brings to the mound, he didn’t generate much soft contact this season from opposing hitters. According to Fangraphs, teams made soft contact only 16.3% of the time, which was the fourth lowest from any Washington Nationals pitcher.

All in all, Ross showed some good things in his second season such as a 2.84 road ERA in 11 starts, his 7.2 shutout innings of work against the Phillies on April 15, or his ten hits and a RBI at the plate (41 at-bats). But, the shoulder injury prevented him from pitching a full season.

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Heading into 2017, Ross will be back in the Washington Nationals starting rotation. He has shown good success and control with his pitches. But, his grade for this season gets lowered a bit because of the rocky ending to a season.

. SP. Washington Nationals. JOE ROSS. C

Heading into 2017, Ross will be back in the Washington Nationals starting rotation. He has shown good success and control with his pitches. But, his grade for this season gets lowered a bit because of the rocky ending to a season.

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