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.