When the San Diego Padres brought their former staff ace back into the fold before the season, coming off of a major injury, hopes were high but no one could have predicted this.
Tyson Ross has unquestionably been the ace of the San Diego Padres starting rotation this season. Clayton Richard was expected to assume that role, with Dinelson Lamet and Luis Perdomo coming into their own over the course of the season.
Ross was supposed to be another veteran arm who, at the very least, could provide leadership to a mostly young pitching staff. Lo and behold, the 31-year-old has taken this group by the scruffs of their necks and shown the pups how it’s done at this level.
The litany of knowledge that Ross is bringing to hurlers like Eric Lauer, Joey Lucchesi, and a bevy of other young Padres pitchers is unquantifiable. Even Richard has likely taken note of just how determined and focused the nine-year MLB has been.
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Ross sets an example for everyone else, pitchers or not
Less than two years ago, this type of success and reemergence must have felt so out of reach to Ross. Thoracic outlet syndrome is a serious issue. Some pitchers never come back from it. Others return as shells of their former selves, eventually flaming out.
Of course, none of us are in Tyson Ross’ head or heart, but one has to assume that the thought of his career being over must have crossed his mind at one point or another. Well, apparently, Ross was more determined to give this thing another whirl, and, man, are we glad he did.
This season, Ross has a 3.34 earned-run average through fifteen starts and looks like the Tyson Ross of 2013-2015 (3.07 ERA in 516.2 innings pitched, 115 ERA+).
His slider has a bite to it that it didn’t have when his first San Diego tenure ended and, to this writer, looks better than it did in 2014 (his career year; 2.81 ERA, 120 ERA+, 1.211 WHIP, 3.24 FIP). Whether Ross finishes out the season with the Padres or if he gets traded, we as a fanbase cannot discount just how important he has been to this stage of the team’s rebuild.
A handful of the positive ripples from this season will eventually turn into waves as time goes on. This core is pretty darn talented, and both the baseball and life lessons that they’re learning from watching Ross go about his business, simply trying to improve, could end up being invaluable.