2011 was a season defined by injuries, and that’s how Cody Ross got his year started. Back in Spring Training, Ross left a game with a strained calf, and didn’t end up playing until April 20th. From there, things didn’t get much better, as he got off to a rather slow start. Through his first 16 games, he’d posted a .213/.245/.234 line.
And that’s about the time he started to get hot. Over the next 36 games, he channeled his inner-SSORYDOC, proceeding to hit .300/.400/.550 in 140 plate appearances.
And back and forth, back and forth, that seemed like Ross’ 2011. A few prolonged hot streaks, and a few prolonged slumps. (And, of course, a bunch of flying bats). On June 17, he was sitting at an .821 OPS; by the end of August, that line had fallen to .692.
His season was cut short by a hamstring issue, but in the end, he finished with some fairly predictable numbers. A career .265/.323/.466 hitter prior to the season, Ross finished at .240/.325/.405 (thanks to a major uptick in walks — one that is likely not sustainable) in a year when offense was down league-wide:
With Ross leaving for free agency, the Giants will have to decide whether they want to bring him back. There’s a gap in centerfield, and the Giants don’t seem too keen on the idea of filling it with the likes of Justin Christian, Andres Torres, or Gary Brown (who has yet to play a game above High-A). Ross is at the point where he quite possibly is no longer capable of playing passable defense in center, and the money he gets this offseason will surely be dictated by whether or not teams believe that’s the case. If I had to guess though, I’d say he won’t return to San Francisco in 2012.
Ultimately, it was neither a good nor bad season for Ross, just an average one (when he was healthy, that is). He did all that the Giants would have reasonably expected, for better or for worse.