by Ray Kuhn
To say it has been a strange off-season for Ross Stripling would be an understatement. We know that the right-hander is talented and has shown it in flashes, but he has always had trouble finding a steady role in the Dodgers’ rotation.
It appeared that was ready to change when Stripling was traded to the Angels, but that was then reversed and he found himself back with the Dodgers. His ADP of 316, as the 114th pitcher selected, reflects that lack of space in Los Angeles’ rotation, but once again, it seems like we will be seeing another change in Stripling’s role. That means there should be a corresponding bump to his value as enter the 2020 season.
At this point it remains to be seen how, when and under what circumstances baseball will return, but there is one thing clear there appears to be no much thing as too much starting pitching. That is always the case, but with a shorter runway to the start of the season and the expectation of multiple double-headers teams will have to go six or seven (at minimum) pitchers deep in their rotation.
That means Stripling’s role should no longer concern us. We know that he is talented, so let’s just roll with that. Now, let’s take a look at what we can expect from him moving forward.
Despite the fact that Stripling doesn’t throw especially hard, he has an average fastball around 91 miles per hour, he still strikes out a batter per inning at worst. There is a strong stable of four pitches and with a 50% ground ball rate last season he does a good job of staying out trouble. The fact that he has shown the ability to limit the walks (22 in 122 innings in 2018 and 20 in 90.2 innings last season) also works in his favor.
In each of his last three seasons,Stripling’s ERA has ranged from 3.02 to 3.75 with his WHIP clocking in pretty steadily between 1.15 and 1.19. While none of this production is going to truly move the needle, and there isn’t much in the way of upside, it’s hard to argue with what we have seen.
His career high in innings of 122 doesn’t scream “top of the rotation horse”, but for this season that isn’t a factor. The way we look at pitching is probably going to be far different than what we imagined, and also not like anything we ever will have to deal with again, so it requires a different plan of attack.
Draft skills, as role doesn’t really matter as much, and someone like Stripling will see his value increase. Although it might not be as much as his value increasing, as the right-hander just coming back to the pack with his competition. There may be more exciting pitchers to target in that range, but with 36 starts over the past two seasons Stripling has shown that he can hold his own.
Make sure to check out all of our 2020 Fantasy Baseball preseason rankings: