Washington Nationals acquire RHP Joe Ross and player to be named

The Washington Nationals acquired right-handed pitcher Joe Ross and a player to be named from the San Diego Padres in exchange for outfielder Steven Souza Jr. and minor league left-handed pitcher Travis Ott on Friday. Nationals President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo made the announcement. The deal was part of a three-team trade that also included the Tampa Bay Rays, who will receive Souza Jr. and Ott.

Ross, 21, went 10-6 with a 3.92 ERA in 23 games (22 starts) between Single-A Lake Elsinore and Double-A San Antonio in 2014. 

The 6-foot-4 righty struck out a career-best 106 batters and walked just 29 in 2014, a 3.66 strikeout-to-walk ratio, the best of his career. In four games (three starts) for Double-A San Antonio, Ross fanned 19 batters while walking just one. He went 2-0 with a 3.60 ERA (8 ER/20.0 IP) after his late-July promotion. He features a mid-90s fastball that induces groundballs to go along with an above average slider.

In the hitter-friendly Single-A California League, Ross went 6-4 with a 3.76 ERA in 14 starts en route to being named a California League All-Star. In addition, he garnered California League Pitcher of the Week honors on May 5 after striking out nine batters in six innings of shutout ball, April 29 vs. Visalia (ARI).

Ross, who has improved his strikeouts per nine innings and walks per nine innings at each level of the minor leagues over the last two years, was considered by multiple industry experts to be one of the Padres' Top 10 prospects. He was rated by Keith Law of ESPN.com as the No. 41 overall prospect in baseball during the 2014 season.

Ross was originally selected by San Diego in the first round (No. 25 overall) of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft. He attended Bishop O'Dowd High School in Oakland, Calif. and is the younger brother of Padres' pitcher Tyson Ross.

 

Souza Jr., 25, was selected by the Nationals in the third round of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft out of Cascade High School in Everett, Wash. He spent seven seasons in Washington's minor league system before making his Major League debut on April 13 at Atlanta. He was named Washington's 2014 Minor League Player of the Year after an outstanding season at Triple-A, which also earned him International League Most Valuable Player honors.

 

The athletic outfielder's signature moment as a National came on the final day of the 2014 regular season when he sealed Jordan Zimmermann's no-hitter, the first in Nationals history, with an outstanding leaping catch in left field.

 

Ott was selected in the 25th round of the 2013 First-Year Player Draft out of Shippensburg Area (PA) High School. He is 4-4 with a 3.96 ERA in 23 minor league games (20 starts).