Player of the Week goes to new Red Sox outfielder Cody Ross as we lead up to 2012 Opening Day on Thursday April 5 against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park.
Ross is on his sixth team since being drafted by the Tigers in 1999. He made his Major League Debut on July 4, 2003 and was named the Minor League Player of the Year. He went from the Los Angeles Dodgers to the Cincinnati Reds to the now Miami Marlins during the 2006 season. Playing there from 2006-2010, Ross had one of the best games of his career, hitting one three-run home run and two two-run home runs on September 11, 2006. His totals over his time with the Marlins included a respectable .265 BA, 80 HR, and 297 RBI. When the Marlins knew they weren’t going to make it into the 2010 postseason, they put Ross on waivers and he was picked up by the San Francisco Giants.
For the rest of the 2010 season, he hit .288 with three home runs over 33 games, though it was his postseason accolades that endeared him to Giants fans who proclaimed “Ross the Boss.” Starting in right field, he hit a game-tying home run in the deciding game of the NLDS against the Atlanta Braves. He also hit in the winning runs of two of the three Giants wins of the series. He continued his success in the NLCS against the Philadelphia Phillies where he hit three home runs, two off of Roy Halladay and one off of Roy Oswalt. During the NLCS Championship ceremony, Ross was awarded MVP of the series with his .350 BA, three HR, and five RBI. He added another clutch home run in the World Series against the Texas Rangers’ pitcher Colby Lewis and the Giants won the World Series. He spent the 2011 season with the Giants, but the team was unable to make the playoffs.
As a free agent, he signed with the Red Sox for the 2012 season and comes in with a lifetime .261 BA, 100 HR, and 371 RBI. He will play the outfield, most likely taking over for the departing JD Drew in right field, and also wearing Drew’s old #7. He plays more like the Sox’s previous right-fielder and fan-favorite Trot Nixon who also donned #7. With Carl Crawford’s injured wrist probably delaying him for the start of the season, Ross will also see time in left. His spirit and hard-playing attitude will make him an instant favorite in the hearts of Red Sox fans who would like to see Ross take advantage of his new home ballpark, especially the Green Monster.
This Spring, Ross has played in nine games, hitting at a .455 BA, with two doubles, two home runs, one stolen base, 5 RBI, and scoring 6 runs. He has a .520 OBP, .818 SLG, and 1.338 OPS. While these stats will not translate exactly into the regular season, Ross is standing out against team rivals who are also vying for the starting right-field spot. Ryan Sweeney is one, but he is struggling with a left quad strain, and in his five Spring Training games, he has a .083 BA, .077 OPS, .083 SLG, and .160 OPS. When healthy, Sweeney would offer Ross exciting competition.
With this line-up mostly unchanged from baseball’s 2011 baseball leading run-scoring champs, Ross would not have to be the star, which could help him be more successful. His dirt-dog perseverance will be much appreciated coming off a 2011 season in which many questioned the Red Sox’s dedication. He will be a player to watch this season.