David Ross

The best backup catcher in baseball (and, by at least one measure, one of the best reserve players of all time) actually had his worst season in a Braves uniform, and still was an above-average hitter in a position where most teams will settle for “won’t kill you”. How much is this worth? Two games a year? Maybe not that much, but maybe so, and two games a year is a lot. Anyway, the variance in Ross’ productivity is largely in batting average, and he has very strong secondary skills. Ross’ career batting average is just .236, but it’s .274 with the Braves, .263 last year. This is his age 35 season coming up, but for a backup catcher that isn’t necessarily old.

Some would say that Ross should be starting somewhere, but I’m not sure that’s best for him. When McCann went down, Ross played every day — and hit .241/.293/.333. He just seems to be better when he isn’t used too much. Unfortunately, because the difference between Ross and JC Boscan is so much greater than the difference between McCann and Ross, Fredi was reluctant to rest him too much. It would be nice if the Braves could come up with a AAA catcher who at least resembles a major league backup.

David Ross Batting Statistics and History – Baseball-Reference.com.

83 thoughts on “David Ross”

  1. I still don’t understand the usage of David Ross in a Braves’ uniform. It seems common sense to use him as the catcher in innerleague play and DH McCann, not to mention taking a risk and having him PH more in late and close situations. This is the reason I wish the Braves would pursue someone like Ryan Doumit instead of Hinske/Diaz. Ross could easily be our best RH PH option but he’s hardly ever used.

  2. One does not solve the lack of a league average offensive OF by signing a second backup C.

  3. Tweet from Logan Morrison:

    I really hope Ozzies on-field instructions r easier 2 understand than his tweets. I literally have no idea what this dude is talking about..

  4. @4
    Not in the current roster construction, but signing a guy like Doumit instead of Hinske/Diaz, it makes sense.

  5. Thoughts and prayers go out to Jeff Porter today.
    The image of the man doing his job is as fundamental to my memories of the Braves as Leo’s rocking or Bobby yelling out encouragement to a batter.

  6. David Ross, good dude, good catcher. Braves need to find a vet for AAA so Boscan can be put out of his misery.

  7. Ken_Rosenthal Ken Rosenthal
    Sources: Talks between #Orioles, #Braves over A. Jones are “nowhere.” Braves will not trade one of top four young SPs for Jones. MORE #MLB

    Ken_Rosenthal Ken Rosenthal
    Taking Jurrjens, Prado makes no sense for #Orioles unless they can get one of those four. Talks fluid, but no current momentum. #Braves #MLB

  8. The not-so-dirty secret about the NFL is that it’s usually much better to watch on television. But, seeing that Falcons/Giants ticket prices are dropping to face value, it’s getting awfully tempting.

  9. Response to Marc S from the last thread:

    (I have to admit, the Yankees of the 50s–Cold War America- absolutely fascinate me. And Mantle’s carousing, while tragic in many ways, makes him sort of a Hemingway type hero–not that I’m a big fan of his writing. The damndest thing is, though, that the Braves in the 90s were a few key hits from being the 50s Yankees.)

    Yes, the Braves in the 90s were a few key hits from being the 50s Yankees… and the Braves in the 50s were a few key hits from being the 90s Yankees.

  10. Brandon Beachy, top-5 in NL Cy Young voting in 2012?

    Or do I need to lay off the mountain dew?

  11. Also,

    Martin Prado is better than Adam Jones.
    Martin Prado will cost less than Adam Jones.
    Martin Prado and Adam Jones have the same amount of team control left.

    The discussion starts and ends right there, in my opinion. If the Orioles call up Wren and offer Jones for Prado, that’s a direct no.

  12. #15
    And the ’50s Yankees were quite possibly a couple of extra, annual playoff rounds from resembling the ’90s Braves.

    As it is, the ’90s Braves are the ’50s Dodgers.

    #17
    Prado’s more versatile, too. No small thing on this club.

    I won’t get bent out of shape over it if we do end up dealing Prado, but he’s a guy I like & root for. Just one of those emotional attachments.

  13. Prado – LF/RF/1B/2B/3B
    OPS
    2008 – .838
    2009 – .822
    2010 – .809
    2011 – .687

    Jones – LF/CF/RF
    OPS
    2008 – .711
    2009 – .792
    2010 – .767
    2011 – .785

    I dont see why we would be that interested.

  14. The other day someone was listing comments that JS and others in the Braves organization made after the collapse last year. Well, it occurred to me what JS said in 2006 after the Braves failed to make the playoffs: “This is just a bump in the road.”

    The bump appears to have become a pothole.

  15. The fact that Orioles prospects seem to stall once they reach the majors could be a sign of organizational ineptness rather than player shortcomings. There could be some untapped potential in Adam Jones. At least, that’s how I’ll choose to think about it if we trade Prado for him.

  16. The bump appears to have become a pothole.

    The organizational goals have changed. Maximizing profitability – the apex intersection on the profitability curve of ticket sales, TV money, licensing, and luxury tax kickbacks – is of greater interest than maximizing competitiveness. The cost per marginal win after a certain point becomes a drag on revenue, so the team hires smart executives and cashes in annually, with the off chance that they will actually compete two or three times a decade. Maybe if they are really close, you’ll get the odd deadline splash, but that’s really all you can hope for under the current structure.

    I sure as f*ck wish I was 10 again sometimes.

  17. 22,

    As much as I would prefer Ted Turner’s handling of the team over Liberty Media’s, let’s not get lost here. After 15 straight years of making a (sometimes 4, mostly 8 team) playoff (excluding 1994), the Braves missed the playoffs for just 4 years before returning and essentially creating a new dynasty. That’s still damn impressive, especially when compared to about 25 of the other teams in baseball. Baseball is an extremely hard game to win consistently, and the quick turnarounds that are common in football and basketball are not as prevalent in baseball.

    The Braves’ organizational goals have not changed. They’re still trying to win, but not at the expense of losing 10 to 20 million dollars every single year. Their resources have been reduced by a fair margin, but that is to be expected as most owners do not want to run a business that’s in the red. The organizational goal is still to win, year in and year out, but through a different method than throwing money at their problems. They’re still an extremely impressive organization.

    I agree with your last thought on a daily, if not hourly, basis.

    21,

    Not to oversimplify, but isn’t his main shortcoming the inability to take a walk and too many strikeouts? Can a 26 year-old be taught better strike-zone judgment in the major leagues, even if his K to BB ratio is around 5 to 1? (That’s a legitimate question. If you increase his walk rate by 4-5 percent, and decrease the strikeouts by 4 percent while keeping the same power, you have a legitimate 5 to 6 win upper-echelon player.)

  18. Can a 26 year-old be taught better strike-zone judgment in the major leagues, even if his K to BB ratio is around 5 to 1?

    I don’t know. If K/BB is ignored by the Baltimore coaching staff, there could be improvement to be had at the margins. He went from a 3/1 K/BB ratio as a young-for-his-levels minor leaguer to a 4/1 ratio as an Oriole.

  19. Quotes since the collapse…

    Wren – “the Braves will increase their payroll in 2012….and that every player is available in trade if they can get better.”

    Talking Chop – Wren told us that they are open-minded to SS…& more likely up-grade by trade than Free Agency. They do like Pastornicky but not rdy.

    Bowman – As for the shortstop position, it seems like the Braves would be content to enter Spring Training with Tyler Pastornicky

    Talking Chop – Frank Wren said they are looking for a RHH corner OF bat…but less level type player than Cuddyer and Willingham

    JS – “Our performance in the month of September was unacceptable to all in the organization, and we will evaluate and analyze our missteps to do all we can to prevent this from happening again. Our General Manager, Frank Wren, and his staff have already begun to evaluate our team and will be focusing throughout the off-season on building upon the strengths of this team and repairing our weaknesses to achieve our goal”

    Wren – “Jason’s going to continue to be in a battle for a position next year. It’s not a given that he’s our right fielder.”

  20. @22, We are in general agreement here – I don’t think I ever said they weren’t trying to win, but the lengths they are willing to go to do so has certainly evolved.

    This befuddles me a hair though:

    “the Braves missed the playoffs for just 4 years before returning and essentially creating a new dynasty”

    Are you saying that 2010 and 11 seasons – 2 second place finishes, 1 playoff berth, and one playoff win in a division with just one other decent team in it – are emblematic of “a new dynasty”?

  21. Man, I just don’t see how Adam Jones is that good.

    Yet some very smart people in the online baseball community (Dave Cameron for one) keep telling me I am wrong.

    Something doesn’t add up here.

  22. Marek was signed by the Blue Jays today. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him closing in a few years. Would have been a nice addition to the bullpen.

  23. 26,

    Nope, and I guessed I phrased it incorrectly. What I meant to imply was that they laid the foundations for what is probably going to become an incredibly successful team for the near future. Yeah, ‘dynasty’ may have been too strong.

    27,

    I haven’t seen too much of that yet. Is there a link to that article?

    28,

    Maybe we can trade a superstar for him or something.

  24. Michael Dyer to Arkansas State? Dare I dream of an all-time winning record against Auburn after next year?

  25. Marlins on the verge of acquiring Zambrano. Big Z, Hanley Ramirez, Jose Reyes, and Ozzie Guillen all in the same clubhouse? Yeah…this isn’t going to end well.

  26. Wow, you thought LoMo was not able to understand his manager. I wonder if he’ll understand why Miami is trying to acquire Carlos Zambrano. Good luck with all those characters…

  27. @31 Oh come on Stu, it’s not like Auburn doesn’t have half a dozen guys who will fill the void afterwards. He’s a fool for leaving, apparently he has had major ego issues since coming here and it’s a shame, I loved to watch him play. But of all the issues Auburn has, replacing him is not one of them.

  28. Has nothing to do with Kentucky, which everyone knew was a terrible team before we beat them. (I was even on here predicting a beatdown, and I believe that was the only prediction I made before any game on here this past season.)

    And, like I said, the Auburn thing is a dream. I just like the idea of having an all-time winning record against somebody in this conference.

  29. Miami has acquired Zambrano. Better him than Garza I guess.

    Busy offseason – Reyes, Buerhle, Zambrano, and Bell

  30. “Comment From Guest
    There is no way Adam Jones is worth Jurrjens, Prado plus another prospect. He has never had a WAR above 2.9 while Prado already has had a 4.4 season. Prado is more versatile, hits for a higher average, higher OBP, strikes out less, walks more and has equivalent power. Jurrjens alone for Jones would be a fair trade for both sides. Both have the same amount of arb years remaining and both are good, but not great players. Jurrjens has a career 10.5 WAR while Jones has a 9.2.”

    “12:17 Dave Cameron
    Seriously, I can’t remember the last time a collective fan base lost their minds as much as the Braves fans on this trade rumor. You’re all nuts. Adam Jones is good.”

    What?! Dave Cameron’s gut is really telling him the numbers are wrong on this one, I guess.

  31. Watching Dave Cameron dig in against all evidence – the exact opposite of what he’s supposed to be doing, incidentally – is almost fascinating. My favorite moment of that this offseason was when he advocated the Mariners trade Pineda and change for Joey Votto. Even his own fanbase called him a homer for that one: http://www.ussmariner.com/2011/11/02/daves-201-off-season-plan/

    By the way, for those wondering why Cameron loves Adam Jones so much: he was the centerpiece of the Bedard deal, and a guy Mariners’ fanboys can’t seem to forget. In their eyes, he’s still, and perhaps forever, a dreamy superprospect with 6-7 WAR potential.

  32. 39, 41

    Cameron argues that “if” Adam Jones learns to take better paths to baseballs hit his way, he could prospectively be a 4 WAR player at age 25. I mean, sure. If Jeff Francoeur all of a sudden became 10 runs better with the glove and 5 runs better on the bases and learned to play CF and became 15 runs better with the bat, he’d be a superstar too. There isn’t a player in baseball that you can’t say that about.

    I guess Cameron’s main thing is that he actually expects
    a) Adam Jones of being capable of pulling that feat
    b) Adam Jones actually doing it

    I doubt it’s going to happen, but yeah, he’s shown some homeristic tendencies (not to take anything away from the fact that he’s an incredibly talented and smart author whose work I enjoy reading). But, dude is reaching at this point.

  33. Yeah, I don’t mean to disrespect Cameron who is no doubt very intelligent and whose work I typically enjoy. I hadn’t made the former-Ms-prospect connection with Jones. That probably explains the whole dumb thing.

  34. @44

    Dooley may hire Steele. If he does, he should put his house on the market to get a head start.

  35. Cameron argues that “if” Adam Jones learns to take better paths to baseballs hit his way, he could prospectively be a 4 WAR player at age 25

    Improving K/BB ratio is one thing, but almost nobody becomes a better fielder after age 25, unless they’re in the process of learning a new position. It’s basically saying he needs to become more agile as he gets older.

  36. The Braves seem to have some pieces in place to be good. But, no matter how good the system, it’s hard to win big without going outside the system periodically. They certainly did that in the 90s-Bream, Pendleton, Maddux, Neagle, Jordan. The team, as presently constructed, needs help IMO. The Braves are very good at producing solid major league regulars but they need more than that to win big and this ownership just isn’t going to do that. Turner never had an unlimited payroll but he did think winning was important enough to spend some money. And, as much as people praise the farm system, it hasn’t done much for the outfield (obviously, that would change if Heyward develops). There seems to be little organizational depth in position players. As Spike notes, Liberty doesn’t see much marginal economic benefit in being a 95 win team as opposed to an 88 win team.

    I’m certainly not advocating making trades just to make trades or to give away Prado and Jurrjens. They had opportunities to at least marginally improve the team and have not, presumably because of payroll considerations.

  37. This is why Duke won’t play a home-and-home with anybody. Heh.
    ——————–

    I am sooooooo glad the SEC didn’t take WVU. Big ole pain in the ass. Other than Bama, they probably scared LSU more than anyone else this year.

  38. @49

    The SEC didn’t take WVU becasue of the TV market they are in.

    I think Pittsburgh is the closest big city. Not quite as big as St. Louis.

  39. @50 color me one as glad. Though, I kind of wish Mizzou was in the SEC this year. Would’ve been a good first impression for basketball.

    Our PG are unstoppable off the dribble and if you help, the wings are unconscious from the 3 pt line. I’ve never heard anything like a 4 guard team leading the nation in FG % this late in the season.

    This has been the dullest Braves offseason I can remember.

  40. @47 I think they were slightly younger than 25, but to be fair, Kelly and Martin both improved dramatically at second base thanks to Hubbard. Apples and oranges, probably.

  41. @52

    2B is a defensive position where footwork and technique drive success. It can be taught.

    The OF on the other hand is mostly about instinct (reading the ball off the bat) and foot speed (chasing the ball down in the gaps.) There’s a reason all of the great defensive OF seasons come from 19-23 year-olds.

  42. @52

    You’re right, I was thinking specifically about KJ when I added the “learning a new position” qualifier.

  43. @53

    You’re right about second base. I agree with you for the most part about the OF. I think a lot of it depends on who is in CF.

    The Braves could live with teach Klesko CF becasue Andruw was in CF. If, say, McLouth was out there, it would have been terrible.

    You also can teach a guy to read the break and LF is probably the easiest possition to play on the field.

  44. Some Dominican reporters are reporting the Braves are interested in Miguel Tejada who is “in the best shape of his life”.

  45. Adam Jones, Zips Projection

    .278 .322 .447 22HR, 106 OPS+

    Martin Prado
    .281 .325 .417 12HR 100 OPS+

    Adding Jurrjens PLUS a prospect makes it just about even then, right?

  46. 56 – Love the “best shape of his life” comments. They usually don’t show up until ST.

  47. You can carry a lug in LF if you have Andruw. You try that with McLouth and you get Garrett Anderson slugging through jello chasing down balls at the wall.

  48. He hit .239 with only 4 (FOUR!) homeruns in 91 games for the Giants last year.

    Gotta say I was shocked at that. No thanks.

  49. When you’re 38 years old, can’t defend SS worth a crap any more, and your OPS starts with a 5, you’re probably done.

  50. Miami Marlins – Land of the Misfit Juguetes.

    Wouldn’t surprise me if they win 100 games. Wouldn’t surprise me if they lost 100 games.

  51. Is Miguel Tejada back on roids?

    I may give him a minor league deal and trade him to Japan for a Godizalla doll. Call billyjay and get it done Wren!

  52. It’s old news now, but did anyone ever hear why the Giants weren’t interested in re-signing Beltran?

  53. OK, gray eminences, got a question for y’all:

    When do the Braves get to play? With all the new tv contract money, I mean?

    I believe I’ve read where their rights are up again after 2013. Is that correct?

    If so, can we expect a Ranger-like windfall that is turning the Texas team from bankruptcy pickings to dynasty seemingly overnight?

  54. @56 – Weren’t they saying the same thing about Raul Mondessi when he signed with the Braves several years ago?

  55. @67

    I think the current FSN and P’tree TV deals run out in 2013. It would be nice if they hit a motherlode for local television again, but I don’t trust any investment in the team to happen until they get rid of Liberty.

  56. SportSouth (formerly Turner South): 2000–present (contract through 2012)
    FSN South (formerly SportSouth): 1991–present (contract through 2012)
    WPCH-TV (Peachtree TV; formerly WTBS): 2008–present

  57. Thanks, Sam.

    Sooo …

    Atlanta is a Top Ten market. Ergo, FSS will be giving the Braves gazillions of dollars this November, right?

    Sweet. Let’s sign Fielder.

  58. The Braves had better not sign Tejada. I don’t care if it’s as a backup; he’s toast. I’d rather them resign Wilson who can at least be competent defensively than that BS.

  59. Ugh…There’s more than a modicum of truth in this

    Tyler Pastornicky, Braves: There’s nothing inherently wrong with giving young players a chance, and Pastornicky does have some real talent. Scouts like his defense, and the 22-year-old shortstop has stolen 120 bases over the past three seasons in the Jays’ and Braves’ minor league systems. What’s frustrating is Atlanta’s pathological urge to hold the line on salaries, perpetually plopping them into the middle of the pack among major league teams ($87 million payroll in 2011, 15th in MLB). Nothing inherently wrong with controlling costs either, and as one of the few corporate-owned teams left in baseball, perhaps it’s to be expected. But the Braves have seemingly been one player away in each of the past three years, winning 86 games or more each time, but with just one first-round playoff exit to show for it. They could have made a run at Jose Reyes or Jimmy Rollins in lieu of depending on a rookie, cashed in some of their amazing young pitching depth for a legitimate middle-of-the-order bat, done anything to push them closer to an NL East title that should be in play with the Phillies aging and the Marlins and Nationals possibly a year or two away. Instead we get more Braves hara hachi bu, and a starting shortstop with zero power and iffy on-base skills. Pastornicky could pan out. But the Braves could have done better.

  60. “Pujols salary increases to $16 million in 2013 and $23 million in 2014, then rises $1 million annually until he makes $30 million in 2021, when he will be 41.”

    Wow…the Angels better win something the next couple years.

  61. The first long-term free agent contract that caused hand-wringing was Wayne Garland signing a 10-year contract with the Indians after the 1976 season…for $2.3 million total.

  62. Peanut setting up shop for a dull finish to the offseason…
    http://tinyurl.com/76w42hk

    Prado, I’m good with keeping, but I see no point in Jurrjens’ stint with the Braves to continue if they can get significant value for him. As it looks now, both Teheran and Delgado will be receiving more seasoning in the Minors to begin 2012. I still think we end up signing Cody Ross and some crappy offensive or defensive SS and call it an offseason.

  63. Liberty Media is quite happy being a middle-of-the road payroll team that is not terrible. They really couldn’t care less if the team wins anything and aren’t really concerned about fans’ reaction as long as attendence doesn’t completely fall off the chart. The basic fact is, John Malone is happy being the largest landowner in America and probably doesn’t even know he owns a baseball team.

    Sigh!

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