The Phillies Should Sign Cody Ross

Posted: December 13, 2012 in Uncategorized

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If readers have not already heard, OF Josh Hamilton has agreed in principle on a 5 year, $125 million contract with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim of California of the United States of America of the planet Earth. Whilst Hamilton was on this writer’s list of Phillies targets; it was always a longshot as to whether or not Ruben Amaro would pony up the years necessary to ink the 2010 AL MVP.

Now, with Hamilton off the market, the Phillies are still in need of corner-outfield help as the new year approaches. The best available candidate, in SkoodSports’ opinion, is 2010 NLCS MVP Cody Ross. Most Philadelphia fans will remember Ross as the catalyst for the San Francisco Giants during their six-game series victory over the Phillies in 2010. Many fans do not realize, however, that Ross would be a perfect fit behind Ryan Howard for a fraction of what Hamilton cost the Angels. Here are just a few reasons why the Portales, New Mexico native should be a Phil by Spring Training.

1. He’s the right-handed bat Philadelphia has needed since Jayson Werth left.

It is no secret that the Phillies have been victimized by left handed pitching the past few seasons. As a team, the Phillies’ lineup had a .263/.325/.406 line (BA, OBP, SLG) vs. right-handed starters in 2012. Compare this to their efficiency vs. left-handed starters (.238/.299/.387) and you will see where the real weakness is in the Philadelphia lineup. Ross has been a stellar hitter against lefties in his career. His .284/.353/.575 line against lefties amounts to a .928 OPS vs. southpaws. This is better than every single Phillies regular last season.

2. Ross rakes at Citizens Bank.

Anyone who remembers game one of the 2010 NLCS knows all too well how proficient he is at the “Bank.” His 36 games played in Philadelphia are the most of any stadium he has visited. His 8 home runs in just 118 AB are the most of any visiting stadium for the 31-year-old slugger. His .865 OPS in Philadelphia would have put him above every single Phillie in 2012 besides Carlos Ruiz.

3. He is a first-half player.

With the exception of 2010 and 2011, the Phillies have been notoriously slow-starters under Charlie Manuel. With Carlos Ruiz suspended for the first 25 games of 2013, and with the nagging injuries that have kept Ryan Howard and Chase Utley out of the lineup in the first half of 2011 and 2012; it is critical that the Phillies get adequate production out of their lineup in the first-half of the season. Enter Ross, who has hit .16 points better in the first half than in the second half during his career. In fact, May has been his most productive month, boasting a superstar’s line of .291/.375/.570 with 26 home runs in 398 career May at-bats.

4. Ross is clutch and the numbers prove it.

Much has been made about the Phillies’ inability to hit with RISP. The numbers get even worse when the game is late and tensions are high. Ross has, over the course of his career, been a notoriously stellar hitter when the game is on the line. With RISP, he has hit .284/.358/.518 with an OPS of .876 and 37 home runs. With a man on third and less than two outs, Ross is hitting .333 (41-123) with 8 home runs and 107 RBI. Using Baseball Reference’s leverage indicators, we can decipher just how clutch a certain player is:

“Within a game, there are plays that are more pivotal than others. We attempt to quantify these plays with a stat called leverage index (LI). LI looks at the possible changes in win probability in a give situation and situations where dramatic swings in win probability are possible (runner on second late in a tie game) have higher LI’s than situations where there can be no large change in win probability (late innings of a 12-run blowout).”

In high leverage situations, Ross is hitting .285/.345/.506/.851 with 35 homers and 186 RBI in 688 PA. There’s no doubt that Ross is a clutch player who would fit in perfectly at Citizens Bank Park.

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