The AP reports (via ESPN) that Cleveland Indians OF prospect Tyler Naquin will make the Opening Day roster, his first trip to the majors. Earlier in the week, Fox Sports reported that the Indians, despite the earlier-than-expected return of Michael Brantley (pictured) and the minor-league signing of Marlon Byrd, were still seeking help for their outfield, but this seems to clear that up. The Indians had an abundance of options and as the AP article mentions, they expect to carry 5 outfielders to start the season. Currently on the Indians Spring Training roster, there are at least 9 legitimate options to make the Opening Day Roster. These choices include probable starters Rajai Davis, Lonnie Chisenhall, and Naquin as well as some combination of the aforementioned Marlon Byrd, Joey Butler, Collin Cowgill, Will Venable, Robbie Grossman, and Shane Robinson.
Mark Simon at ESPN.com recently wrote a piece detailing the virtues of Tyson Ross and the fact that he has gone relatively unnoticed playing in San Diego for the Padres. Ross’s ability to produce a high number of ground balls and a low number of hard-hit balls gives Simon reason to consider him as a potential NL Cy Young candidate in 2016.
Ross does indeed produce an inordinately high number of ground balls. As mentioned at ESPN, his 62% GB rate ranked third in the majors last year. For comparison’s sake, starters in the MLB averaged 45.2%, giving Ross almost 1.4 times as many ground balls. The article also references his low hard-hit rate (~9%) and Ross confirms this occurs because he tries to induce “weak contact”.
How does Ross achieve this? And what would it take for him to become a bona fide Cy Young candidate in 2016? The answer to both questions is the classic mantra: “location, location, location”.