Stepping Into The Rotation?
With the news that David Price will not be playing, Ross Stripling becomes an intriguing pitcher for this upcoming shortened season. He seems to be the one to step into the rotation, but knowing the Dodgers it could be someone else for some reason. Let’s take a little dive into Stripling to see what we can expect. Here we go it’s time to dissect.
Overall in 2019, Stripling finished the year with 90.2 innings pitched along with a 3.47 ERA and 3.47 FIP. All really great stats but let’s look at his stats as a starter to see if this might just be a blip. As a starter, he pitched 70.0 innings with a 3.60 ERA, 3.69 FIP, and 20.2 K-BB%, all still great. As always, let’s check out some underlining numbers to make sure this isn’t just bait.
When it comes to contact, Stripling actually produced weaker contact as a starting pitcher. Overall he produced a .331 xwOBAcon, 65.8 Weak%, and 54.6 GB% all of which makes his outlook a bit richer. The only issue with Stripling as a starter is he let up a lot more barrels but still only slightly more than the rest of the league. If weak contact and solid ERA stats aren’t enough, Stripling’s arsenal will provide you with even more intrigue.
Diving Into His Pitches
His four-seam fastball was his most thrown pitch as a starter producing a .326 xwOBAcon, 10.7 Barrel%, and 5.9 SwStr% in 2019. This pitch is just average and it basically just replicated it stats from 2018. This certainly is his “getting a strike when needed” pitch. Every pitcher needs a pitch they can rely on to get a strike so this isn’t a pitch he needs to ditch.
His knuckle-curve is the first of many second offerings Stripling brings to the table. As a starter when throwing this pitch he put up a .310 xwOBAcon, 6.4 Barrel%, 66.0 GB%, and 14.5 SwStr% making this pitch pretty stable. All of this is above average as well as his -9.0 vertical movement that leaves hitters swinging from their knees. Stripling utilizes this pitch extremely well and gets hitters out with ease.
Next up is Stripling’s slider which on the surface doesn’t look that great. More of a weak contact pitch, it seems like he really uses this pitch for bait. His slider moves like a curveball as it breaks up and down as opposed to side to side. For hitters to decipher between this and the knuckle-curve becomes nearly impossible for them to be able to decide. I’d like to think this pitch is actually better than what the numbers say. It provided a .372 xwOBacon, 11.0 SwStr%, and 59.5 GB% all of which are okay in a way.
In 2019 Stripling’s changeup was straight money last year. This pitch is what left batters shaking in fear. It has an above-average vertical drop and just disappears on hitters. If you watch videos on this pitch you can see hitters getting the jitters. Overall it produced a 44.0 O-Swing% and 17.8 SwStr% both great numbers for an off-speed pitch. As a starter, this pitch was just as good providing a .288 xwOBAcon, 63.3 GB%, and 0.0 Barrel% making this pitch even more rich.
While I don’t see a ton of strikeout upside, if the Dodgers announce him as a starter he will be a fantasy baseball asset. With a decent fastball and two very good secondary pitches, he seems like a good bet. He provides good control, command, and really knows how to utilize his arsenal well. There isn’t much not to like about Stripling as he should be the fifth starter for the Dodgers as far as we can tell. Did I just rhyme?
Projected line: 65 Innings, 3.87 ERA, and 1.20 WHIP