Apr 23, 2014; Milwaukee, WI, USA; San Diego Padres pitcher Tyson Ross (38) pitches in the first inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Some pitchers have one pitch that they can rely on and is a huge part of why they’ve been successful. The first one that comes to mind is Mariano Rivera and his cutter.
For Padres starter Tyson Ross, that pitch is his slider. In this season in particular, he’s shown his affinity for his slider throwing it 36.6% of the time. It is the most of any pitch in his repertoire and the most he’s ever thrown over the course of his career.
Thanks to this increased usage, he’s enjoying the best year of his young career. Finally getting his first crack consistently being part of a major league rotation, he’s found his way to the top of the National League leaderboards. He’s currently 16th in ERA, 21st in strikeout rate and 20th in xFIP.You don’t reach those numbers by accident and you don’t make the leap he’s made without making a significant change. His growing faith in the slider has been that change.
Pitching coach Darren Balsley has taken note of this too. In speaking to MLB.com’s Corey Brock he said:
"“His slider is just so good. I think he’s throwing it a little more than before,” Balsley said. “And, honestly, I would like him not have to throw it quite as much. But it’s also such a devastating pitch … and when it’s that good, it’s kind of hard not to throw it a lot.”"
Hopefully, Ross can continue his recent success with the pitch and keep dominating hitters with it. If he keeps at his current pace, he’ll end up with a prosperous future.