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Chapter 145: Ross the Boss

One-time almost-rodeo clown Ross the Boss lands just outside our top 20 All-Time Marlins.

Florida Marlins v Atlanta Braves Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Eventual 12-season major league veteran Cody Ross was drafted in the fourth round back in 1999 out of Carlsbad HS by the Detroit Tigers.

The All-Time Marlins Countdown is running out of time, and players. With only three weeks until 2021’s Opening Day, we still have 21 players to count down. Players are sorted in ascending bWAR divided by PA/BF collected while with the team. Cody Ross was worth 9.4 bWAR in three full seasons and parts of two others while with the Marlins.

21. Cody Ross

Cody Ross is a five-foot-11 righty-batting, lefty-throwing outfielder from Portales, New Mexico. A rodeo clown hopeful growing up, Ross eventually gravitated to baseball, and attended the same high school that Trevor Rogers would eventually get selected out of in 2017.

Four years after his selection in the draft, Ross made his major league debut with the Tigers in 2003, hitting .211 in a six-game look. A trade to the Los Angeles Dodgers and a full season spent in the minors would see Ross finally reemerge on the big stage with LA in 2005. His second exposure to the majors resulted in a four-for-25 line in 14 contests.

Ross started 2006 with the Dodgers, got traded to the Cincinnati Reds in late-April and purchased by the Marlins a month later. In 91 games with the Marlins, Ross hit only .212/.284/.396 with 11 jacks and 37 RBI. Even considering his power stroke, and adequate defense out of all three outfield positions (he spent at least 145 innings at each spot), Ross clocked in at 0.7 wins below replacement in his first look for the Marlins.

Baltimore Orioles v Florida Marlins Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images

That all changed in 2007, arguably Ross’ best season in the majors. Despite only spending 66 games with the parent club level (due to injury), Ross racked up a robust .335/.411/.653 slashline with a dozen homers and 39 RBI. Ross’ resultant OPS+ of 173 would have easily led the Marlins if he had met the requisite plate appearance threshold for the leaderboard. Mostly a center fielder through that season, Ross was very roughly an “average” National League outfielder, just one DRS below average in nearly 400 innings in the field.

The 2008 campaign would result in increased counting figures for Ross, despite his slashline regressing to .260/.316/.488. With 145 games to his credit, Ross achieved career highs in a lot of categories. He hit 22 homers with 73 RBI, adding 29 doubles and 24 multiple hit games.

On June 7 of that year, Ross achieved a single-game WPA of 1.139, a figure most players don't total in a season. After starting the game against the Reds O-for-two then adding a walk in his third plate appearance, Ross singled home Dan Uggla with the go-ahead run in the seventh. Trailing by a run with two outs in the last of the ninth, Ross smacked a two-run shot off Reds reliever Francisco Cordero for a come-from-behind walk-off 8-7 Marlins victory.

Ross didn’t win any awards that season with the Marlins, but racked up a .997 fielding percentage overall, finishing 11 runs above average DRS in 1064 23 outfield innings.

Ross played another season-and-a-half with Florida, getting claimed by the San Francisco Giants off waivers on August 22, 2010. A possible career low-point turned golden for Ross, who won the National League Championship Most Valuable Player for the Giants, going seven-for-20 with a .950 slugging percentage in their six-game series victory against the Philadelphia Phillies.

Ross later also played for the Boston Red Sox, the Arizona Diamondbacks, and the Oakland Athletics at the major league level. He made his last appearance with the A’s in May, 2015.