The Texas Rangers optioned left-handed pitcher Robbie Ross Jr. to the Round Rock Express back on June 17. He was a quick and rising star for an organization starved for pitching. When he first came up to the Rangers back in 2012 he racked up 6 quick wins as a reliever and was undoubtedly one of the toughest lefties to hit against.
After hitting that quick high point he has yet to return to that level. He struggled a lot in the second half of last season but still managed to have a respectable 3.92 ERA. But, Ron Washington wouldn’t put him in during key situations and was only used about half the time he was used during the first half of 2013.
After a disappointing finish to the 2013 season, Robbie Ross Jr. played some in winter ball in the Dominican Republic. During his first game he was light up for several runs and ended the night with a 108.00 ERA. But, to his credit, Ross did settle down after that game and pitched much better. Ross did manage to get his ERA down to 5.40 after a few more games, which finished his offseason ball. [‘related-category’]
His late success in winter ball carried over to spring training and he eventually landed a job in the starting rotation. He would have limited success as a starter for the Texas Rangers. Over 9 starts he has a record of 2-4 with a 5.61 ERA. His last few starts were pretty awful. Over hist last 6 starts he gave up 24 runs off of 46 hits. For a while leading the league in hitting batters at 7. He actually hit the same batter twice in one game purely on accident.
After his streak of bad starts the Texas Rangers moved him to the bullpen where they thought he might be more effective, but instead it was more of the same. Over his last 4 relief appearances he gave up 8 runs over 9 hits.
He was especially bad against lefties, which was the same problem he had in the second half of 2013. This season, lefties are killing him with a batting average of .341, which right-handed batters are only batting .211.
The hard decision was finally made to send Robbie Ross Jr. back down to triple-A ball to allow him time to work out his command issues. But, so far with the Round Rock Express he hasn’t had much luck yet.
Over 5 games/4 starts (19.2 innings) he has a record of 1-3 with an ERA of 8.24. He has given up 24 hits, 18 earned runs, 12 walks and only struck out 17. On a good note he has only hit one batter.
It seems at this point Robbie Ross Jr. has a long road back to the majors. When he first arrived to the majors it seemed they had a beast of a lefty that could come out of the bullpen, but now everyone seems to have either figured him out, or he’s lost a little bit. Hopefully during the half of the season he’ll work through his command issue and work on his secondary pitches to return to the Texas Rangers next season.