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

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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 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)
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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.