The New Jersey native had a solid if unremarkable college career, pitching for three seasons for the Princeton Tigers — where he achieved Second Team All-Ivy League honors in 2018 — before registering a 4.40 ERA in 75 innings for the Blue Devils during his senior year. Gross went undrafted out of high school and was selected with pick 1,032 in the 2018 draft by the Houston Astros before signing with the Twins.
Gross pitches solely from the stretch and utilizes a three-quarter arm slot. His delivery is compact and fluid, with good push off his back leg.
The Duke product primarily employs a fastball-slider pitch mix with the occasional changeup, though "occasional" might be a bit of an overestimate. His fastball touches the low- to mid-90s, sitting around 92-93 mph, and is … alright. It doesn't have a ton of ride, nor does it sink. However, on most nights, he can command it pretty well, placing it where he wants to and using it to get ahead in the count. It plays best up in the zone, but it will likely be an average pitch at best at the major league level.
Gross's best offering, by far, is his slider. While his command of it sometimes waxes and wanes throughout a game, hitters have a tough time making any contact at all when it's working.
Gross has struck out 98 batters in 77 innings this season for High-A Cedar Rapids, the majority of which have been a result of his slider. His 11.5 K/9 rate is among the best in the Twins' system, and his 2.7 BB/9 is a good indication of his overall control. Before his most recent start when he walked three batters, Gross had only walked more than two batters in an outing on one occasion this summer.
In all likelihood, the role in which Gross would find the most success should he make it to the big leagues would be out of the bullpen. The limited upside of his fastball in combination with his lack of a third pitch makes it highly unlikely that he will stick as a starter. However, his slider has true MLB potential, particularly if he hones in his command.
Hear more from Ben in his conversation with Seth on Twins Spotlight this past offseason.
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