Baseball America No. 6 Nats prospect: Joe Ross

The Nationals were excited to be able to trade for 21-year-old right-hander Joe Ross. The brother of Padres hurler Tyson Ross, Joe Ross is a 6-foot-4, 205-pound starter from Oakland, Calif., who was the Padres’ first-round pick in 2011. He arrived in the three-team December trade that sent Steven Souza Jr. to the Tampa Bay Rays.

The deal also brought in shortstop Trea Turner to the Nationals. Both Ross and Turner have been ranked among the Nationals’ top 10 prospects by Baseball America.

Ross is listed at No. 6 on that list.

No. 6: right-hander Joe Ross

Baseball America editor-in-chief John Manuel told me his publication’s scouting report on Ross is fairly simple.

“(He is a) young, athletic right-handed pitcher with a power arm,” Manuel said. “He’s a power (91-93 mph fastball) sinker-slider guy who has an above-average groundball rate, a plus slider that helps him get more strikeouts as he learns to pitch (his strikeout rate was up the second half of 2014), and a changeup that has been playable against left-handed hitters.”

Manuel believes Ross has a shot to be a top five starter for the Nationals in the future as he refines his pitching repertoire.

“He’s got a chance to have three average to plus pitches,” Manuel said via email. “He’s got some crossfire in his delivery but is athletic. If he stays healthy he’s a future No. 3 starter. Younger brother of Tyson Ross, San Diego all-star right-handed pitcher, so probably bummed he got traded!”

Joe Ross is listed on the Double-A Harrisburg roster. Adding to the Senators’ starting rotation is critical for the Nationals’ talent base, as one reason the Double-A club struggled out of the box last season was a lack of pitching depth in their top five.

He has close to 300 innings in his minor league career, with at least 121 innings in each of the last two seasons. He has also logged 45 starts during that stretch with a combined 185 strikeouts and only 69 walks.

He has also been honored as a mid-season All-Star in each of the last two seasons. Ross appears to be a solid pickup for the Nationals and coupled with Turner, will help to build depth at two important positions on the diamond.

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