Possibility of Innings Limit for Tyson Ross?


According to Friarwire.com, San Diego manager Bud Black yesterday mentioned that Padres hurler Tyson Rossprobably” won’t be facing an innings limit this season.

Ross is having the best season of any starter in a strong Padres rotation, leading the team in the Triple Crown categories with 11 wins, 160 Ks, and a terrific 2.63 ERA. Why would the 27-year-old right-hander potentially have his innings watched during his breakout season?

Precisely because it is his breakout season. Ross has never come close to pitching this well, or this much, in past seasons. Last year, he wasn’t even in the starting rotation until late July. Between AAA and San Diego, he pitched a total of 136.2 innings. Ross has already tallied 160.2 this year, which eclipses his career high of 153.2, set in 2012, a total which included 78 innings in the minors.

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With 46 games left on the Padres’ schedule, Ross is on pace to pick up another nine starts. At his current average of just over 6.1 innings per start, that’s another 57 innings, which would bring him to 218 for the year. That’s 65 innings more than his career high.

Ross had this to say about his current innings:

"“I am aware I’m higher than I’ve been in the past, but I feel good, I feel strong and I actually feel like I’m getting better,” Ross said. “I’m taking the season as an opportunity to learn and continue to grow. Every outing is a learning experience.“As long as my body is feeling good … I’m looking forward to continuing to go and continuing to learn.”H/t to Corey Brock of padres.mlb.com"

Ross is a big, strong guy, 6-foot-6 and 230 pounds. But the prevailing wisdom in baseball for a number of years is that innings should be increased slowly, often not exceeding an increase of 30-40 innings per year. In a season in which the Padres are unlikely to make the postseason, extending Ross too far increases the potential for injury. And with the Padres’ history of pitching injuries the last few years, the team couldn’t be faulted for trying to protect Ross.

On the other hand, if the team retains hope of making the playoffs next year, which could add an additional 4-5 starts and 30-40 postseason innings to Ross’ total, they might be better off stretching him this year.

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But not too far. If Ross suffers a serious overuse injury that affects his playing time next year, we probably won’t be thinking about the playoffs in 2015 at all.