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Cody Ross’s Odd Feat

The title of this post should be taken quite literally. Cody Ross, a 5’9 outfielder of the Florida Marlins, may not intimidate opposing pitchers with his stature but he sure will with his bat. Over the last 14 days he has been the most productive major league player—hitter or pitcher—with a 1.44 WPA. The player closest to Ross is Jose Guillen, who has a 1.26 WPA in that same span. Ross has posted a .316/.386/.711 slash line in this span, complete with 3 2B, 4 HR, 2 SB, and 11 RBI.

Something really interesting regarding Ross’s numbers is his seasonal slash line: .228/.299/.535. Ross has an OPS of .834 that clearly consists primarily of his power. His ISO counts of this and last year back that up; .318 in 2007, .307 this year. Oddly enough, though, his BABIPs traveled in different directions; .374 last year, .191 this year. Last year’s very high BABIP led to a slash line of .335/.411/.653 in 66 games. With a 1.064 OPS last year Ross showed he could be a productive major leaguer but that OPS looks like a 50/50 balance when stacked up next to this year’s OBP and SLG.

I looked to see if there has been a significant number of instances in which players posted OPS totals above .830 with an OBP under .300 and found the answer to be a resounding no. In fact, since 1901, there have only been three hitters to accomplish this “feat” while playing 50 or more games:

1) Mike Jacobs, 2008: 54 GP, .847 OPS
2) Cody Ross, 2008: 50 GP, .834 OPS
3) Daryle Ward, 2000: 119 GP, .833 OPS

Now, granted Ross and Jacobs are still playing so it is not truly fair to list them alongside Ward; Daryle is the only person to do it for a whole season since 1901. There have likely been others to accomplish what Ross and Jacobs are doing during random 50-game spans but, right now, they are the only two players with these numbers.

For those unaware, Jacobs is also a member of the Marlins. Just two players this year have a sub-.300 OBP and .830+ OPS and both are on the same team. Overall, though, they’ll each need about 60+ games of similar production to reach the level of Ward.