This is the twenty-second-and final-in a series of articles, here at Around the Foghorn, covering the 22 non-roster invitees joining the San Francisco Giants in their spring training complex this season.
Ty Ross is one of three catchers summoned to spring training by the San Francisco Giants as a non-roster invitee, joining an already crowded assembly of dish specialists including Buster Posey, Hector Sanchez, and Andrew Susac. The other two non-roster catchers are Aramis Garcia and Guillermo Quiroz. A defensive specialist, Ross stands six-two and weighs in at 220 pounds.
Ross was drafted by the Giants out of Louisiana State University in 2013, in the 12th round, the 372nd pick overall. He started 62 games at catcher that season as a junior, batting .217 with three doubles, three homers, 32 RBIs and 26 runs. Whereas his offense can only be described as anemic in terms of average, he did demonstrate the ability to hit in the clutch early on.
Late that season, The Times-Picayune’s Randy Rosetta wrote an article (June of 2013*) in which he mentions that of his 41 hits to that point (he finished with 45), slightly more than one-fourth were of the most opportunistic nature. When Ross came to the plate with a runner on third and fewer than two outs, he was 11 for 18, a .611 clip.
When you note that he hit only three big flies and wonder if there is a misprint at the three doubles, you can’t help but notice that he has 32 RBIs in 62 games. Over a 162-game schedule, that projects out to around eighty runs knocked in. If a player can manage that kind of productivity without the benefit of the long ball, so much the better. Hits keep rallies going and he produces in the clutch.
Ross’s lead-off double in the top of the eighth inning at Texas A&M (May 11th), led to the go-ahead run in a game that determined the SEC West title.
If one is not going to hit for power, clutch hits to produce wins in big games, is a close second.
Additionally, in the SEC Tournament vs. Alabama, an elimination game, he knocked in the go-ahead, win-producing run in the top of the ninth inning with a single (May 24th). In his universe the home run is not the only way to get it done.
Interestingly enough, what Ty Ross is best known for is his defense. Rosetta wrote that he threw out 18 of 32 would-be base stealers at that late point in the season, while also recording three pickoffs at first base with only four passed balls. In 461 chances, Ross had not committed an error.
Hector Sanchez is also in spring training camp for the San Francisco Giants. USA; San Francisco Giants catcher HecMandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
That defense did not necessarily shine as brightly in the minor leagues, as in 132 games he allowed 115 stolen bases, while nabbing 38, for a 25% caught stealing percentage. His batting average was an acceptable .244, but included only six home runs. Here is a glimpse at his minor league stats over those two seasons:
Three teams at the rookie, A- and A levels,
151 G/529 AB, 64 R/129 H/58 RBI, 36 2B/0 3B/6 HR,
50 BB/109 SO, .244/.313/.346/.659, 8 SH/8 SF
Defensive stats, same three levels:
132 G/1134 Ch/1025 PO, 94 A/15 E/4 DP, Fld% .987,
RF/G 8.48, 10 OB/115 SB, 38 CS/25 %
In his bio it mentioned that Ross has great catching instincts and a cannon of a throwing arm, which would help explain why the Giants invited him to spring training. He has only one full professional season under his belt and is not a threat to hit for power.
Instinctively, one knows he must have something special going on to warrant a close look so early in his career. Possibly it is his ability to handle a pitching staff and maybe some of that clutch nature just sticks too close to him to ignore.
Regardless, the price of poker soars exponentially at the major league level, and he will have to put his behind-the-dish acumen to good measure if he is to gain any attention.
However, at least Ross has paid the ante and has a seat at the table. It’s up to him to play out the hand.
In doing this series on the prospects, I thought I would back the truck up, and list each of those prospects, with a link, so that if you missed some of the early ones, you could play catchup: Clayton Blackburn, Steve Okert, Juan Gutierrez, Adalberto Mejia, Nik Turley, Chris Stratton, Curtis Partch, Cory Gearin, Kyle Crick, Brett Bochy , Braulio Lara, Ty Blach, Mac Williamson, Justin Maxwell, Christian Arroyo, Mitch Delfino, Brandon Hicks, Kelby Tomlinson, and Carlos Triunfel and Aramis Garcia, and Guillermo Quiroz.