Another second half of a season, another time for the San Diego Padres to start looking forward, rather than in the present. It’s a familiar time for the organization, which has had a run of tough luck in recent years. But they have a few building blocks in place right now, including a potential ace in their starting rotation.
One of the bright spots for the Padres this year has been the pitching of Tyson Ross out of the rotation. A guy with 21 career starts to his name in three seasons prior to this one, Ross has been terrific in his nine starts with the Padres, in his first year with the club.
Originally in the rotation before being demoted to the bullpen after three starts, Ross has made six starts so far for the Padres, five of which have been exceptional. His most recent start was his most disappointing, as he surrendered four earned runs and pitched into the seventh inning.
The question of what the Padres have in Ross still lingers because of the fact that Ross was not a guy who had tremendous success prior to this recent stretch with San Diego. Outside of a decent six-game stretch in 2011 with Oakland, he has been unable to stick until this year.
It’s fair to ask whether or not Ross is a legitimate starter moving forward. His stuff is terrific. He has a fastball that can touch 97, averaging around 93, but he couples that with a devastating slider. His ability to locate that pitch is why he’s been so successful recently.
When he struggles with his command, that’s when he gets into trouble. Which could very easily be said of any pitcher. It’s hard to call him a potential ace at this point, though, as effective as he’s been. If he can string together more starts like this, continue posting solid appearances in five of every six or seven starts, then we’ll talk about him as a front-end type.
For now, he’s an intriguing piece of the Padres to keep an eye on for the remainder of the season, as prolonged success through September could set him up to play a big part of their future moving beyond this season.