Player Profile: David Ross is currently in the second year of a two year contract he signed with Boston prior to the 2013 season. Ross has long been considered one of the most formidable backup catchers in baseball and has demonstrated this particular skill with several teams over a twelve year MLB career, including a brief stop in Boston during the 2008 season.
Ross is considered a talented defensive player with an exceptionally strong and accurate throwing arm. In his career Ross has successfully nabbed potential base thieves at a 39% rate, well above the major league average of 28%. Ross’ defensive ability and game calling skills been well noted among his peers and Boston has been no exception. Ross has a MLB slash line of .237/.323/.441 with some respectable power numbers from this soon to be 37 year old right-hand hitter.
2013 And Prior: Ross was signed to complement the switch hitting Jarrod Saltalamacchia and that plan dissipated early in the season when Ross suffered not one but two of the most potential debilitating injuries an athlete can endure – concussions. All sports are now aware of the potential long term damage that a concussion can inflict and Ross had significant down time to insure he was fully recovered.
Ross’ injuries limited 2013 service time of 36 games. Ross slashed at .216/.298/.382, which was below his career line. Where Ross provided the most impact was post season, especially the World Series. Manager John Farrell lost confidence in Saltalamacchia, especially defensively, and Ross stepped in with an excellent performance both behind the plate and with the occasional hit. This further cemented Ross’ reputation as a valuable back-up.
2014 Projection: Ross will now asked to share duties with newly acquired free agent A.J. Pierzynski. Pierzynski, a left-handed bat, will complement Ross as they share duties. Ross is a decidedly better option against left-handed pitching (.246/.231 lifetime) and that will be how Farrell will utilize him in 2014. Since both catchers will be 37 years old the age factor may come into consideration during the season. At this juncture Ryan Lavarnway is still on the major league roster and may, as in 2013, see some potential playing time dependent upon season developments