Looking to fill out your fantasy pitching staff? This series of articles will focus on some fliers that are well worth taking, despite a few potential risks (i.e. a spot in the rotation, injury concerns, etc.).
Heading into the season it appeared that Ross Stripling would be the odd man out of the Dodgers rotation, but the old adage of “you can never have too much pitching” always rings true. Currently it’s Clayton Kershaw who is battling injury, and before long another starter will likely go down with an ailment (not to mention the team potentially limiting the usage of Walker Buehler and Julio Urias). That always meant Stripling should get an opportunity, and there’s a good chance he forces his way into the rotation all season long.
Let’s not forget that he pitched to a 3.02 ERA over 122.0 innings (21 starts, 12 relief appearances) in the Majors last season, showing enough in all three skills we look for:
- Strikeouts – 10.03 K/9
- Control – 1.62 BB/9
- Groundballs – 45.4%
There were some home run issues (1.33 HR/9) and he also benefited from an 86.1% strand rate, though his BABIP should improve (.322 despite a 33.2% Hard%). That will help to alleviate any regression in his strand rate, and playing in Los Angeles you wouldn’t expect home runs to be quite this big of an issue (16.4% HR/FB).
The owner of a 2.2 BB/9 over his minor league career, a strong mark there will allow him to post a solid WHIP. With his swing and miss stuff (11.2% SwStr% in ’18), an improvement in his home run rate and with the luck metrics balancing themselves out, there’s little reason to doubt his upside.
The biggest question facing Stripling is the number of starts he’s going to get, but the Dodgers will likely be able to find ways to get him on the mound. There is risk, but view him as a SP5 type with significant upside.
Current NFBC ADP (as of 03/12/19) – 222.23 (85th pitcher being selected)
Sources – Fangraphs, NFBC