Prospect of the Day: Tyson Ross, RHP, Oakland Athletics

Tyson Ross congratulated by Landon Powell of the Oakland Athletics after they beat the Detroit Tigers on April 17, 2011 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Tyson Ross, RHP, Oakland Athletics
    A year ago, Tyson Ross was a surprise addition to the 25-man roster, but he pitched just 39 innings for Oakland, his pitching time limited by a sore elbow. He's back with Oakland this spring, beginning in the bullpen but making a spot start to cover for the injured Dallas Braden last Friday (April 22nd). In 9.1 innings for Oakland thus far, he's given up eight hits and six runs with a 6/8 K/BB ratio, though in relief the ratio is 5/2 in five innings. What is his long-term role going to be?

     Ross was a second round pick in 2008 from the University of California. He went 10-10, 4.09 with a 113/53 K/BB in 136 innings between High-A Stockton and Double-A Midland in 2009, but posted a 2.19 GO/AO and greatly impressed scouts with the quality of his sinker. Jumping directly to the majors last year resulted in a 5.49 ERA in 39 innings for Oakland with a 32/20 K/BB, as major league hitters exposed command issues, but even there he posted a 2.23 GO/AO.
    Ross can hit 98 MPH on his best days and works in the low-90s. His sinker has plenty of movement and he struggles to command it at times. His slider is strong and he has a workable changeup. Although his arsenal  is diverse enough to start, many scouts question his mechanics and project that he's a significant injury risk. Indeed, he's had bouts of elbow and shoulder trouble. Even without that issue, he'll need to sharpen his command to succeed as a starter, but at worst he should be a successful reliever. I gave him a Grade B- in the 2011 Baseball Prospect Book, with the command and injury concerns precluding a higher grade.
     Tyson's younger brother, California high school pitcher Joe Ross, is expected to be an early pick in the 2011 draft.

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