Red Sox: The case for bringing back Robbie Ross Jr.

BOSTON, MA - MAY 12: Robbie Ross Jr.
BOSTON, MA - MAY 12: Robbie Ross Jr. /

The Boston Red Sox bullpen had its ups and its downs in 2017. Robbie Ross Jr. can help solidify the relievers with a solid lefty arm.

When the 2017 season rolled around, it was hard not to feel comfortable with Robbie Ross Jr. as the Boston Red Sox lefty-specialist out of the bullpen. He built off a solid 2015 with a fantastic 2016.

The left-handed reliever didn’t get to build off the momentum in 2017 though. Ross Jr. threw just nine innings, before missing the vast majority of the season with an injury. In those nine innings, he walked five batters and posted a 7.00 earned run average.

Maybe it’s due to those poor numbers that fans seem to have tossed him to the side. In reality though, that’s not even a bad month of baseball. An eight outing sample size should negate what Ross built over the past two seasons in Boston.

Last season, the Red Sox bullpen was about as hot-and-cold as you could get. Look at players like Matt Barnes and Heath Hembree for proof of this. Reinforcements arrived thanks to Carson Smith and Addison Reed, and of course you can’t forget about Austin Maddox. More are coming with Tyler Thornburg as well.

The left-handers need help too though.

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Robby Scott and Fernando Abad were the main bullpen left-handers last year.

Scott started off extremely dominant, but ran into some hiccups the later we got into the season.

Then there was Abad, who actually had a solid season. He’s still known to implode though, and never seemed to gain the trust of the coaching staff. Rarely was Abad used in high-leverage situations.

Due to this, it’s clear a left-hander is needed.

Brian Johnson could definitely fight for a spot in the bullpen, and Jalen Beeks could make noise in Spring Training too.

It’s Robbie Ross Jr. that should return to the role of resident left-handed specialist for the Boston Red Sox though. Sure, he was outrighted in November, but let’s not kid ourselves. The Red Sox need left-handed help, and he’s not going to be expensive.

You could point to the .212/.308/.310 slash line lefties hold against Ross over the last three years. The 118 strikeouts compared to 48 walks in 125 innings over that time is a solid argument too. The icing on the cake has to be the simply fact that he can hold his own against right-handed hitters too though.

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It’s easy to forget about a middle-reliever who only threw nine innings in 2017. Fans of the Boston Red Sox shouldn’t count out Robbie Ross Jr. though, as he could be a main cog in a strong bullpen. If only they bring him back.