We picked up Ross Stripling at the trade deadline 2020 from the Dodgers for Kendall Williams and Ryan Noda.
Stripling had worked as a swingman for the Dodgers for 5 seasons, making 59 starts and 84 relief appearances, putting up a 3.68 ERA. Not bad, not great.
Stripling got into 5 games for use and got hit hard down the stretch that year.
In 2021, he was much better, putting up a 4.80 ERA in 24 games, 19 starts, covering 101.1 innings.
We really didn’t know what to expect from him this year. But we didn’t expect this:
Baseball Reference has him at a 2.7 WAR. FanGraphs 3.1 WAR, giving him a value of $25.2 million to the Jays.
Ross had a 3.11 FIP and a 3.67 xFIP.
He gave up a .269 BABIP (right about last year’s .270). 73.6% of his baserunners were left on base (down from 76.9 last year).
His line-drive rate was 17.3% (down from 19.9), ground ball rate was 43.8% (up from 35.5) and fly-ball rate was 39.0% (down from 44.5%). Only 7.0% of his fly ball left the park (down from 17.2%). After a year of giving up a lot of fly balls, Ross was back to his old ground ball pitching ways.
Stripling’s strikeout rate was 20.7% (down slightly from 21.8%) and walk rate was 3.7% (down from 7.0).
His soft contact was down (12.8%, from 14.3), but hard contact was down too (32.1%, from 34.8).
Batters hit .234/.265/.287 against him with RISP.
Like last year, Ross had reverse splits. Right-handed batters hit .240/.270/.385, left-handers .215/.246/.316.
He was much the same at home(.221/.250/.354) as on the road (.238/.269/.355).
And he was the same pitcher in the first half (3.03 ERA, batters hit .232/.268/.356) as the second half (3.00, .225/.249/.352).
Stripling by month:
- April: 0-0, 3.60 ERA in 5 games, 3 starts. Batters hit .228/.274/.281 in 15 innings.
- May: 0-1, 5.65 ERA in 7 games, 2 starts. Batters hit .278/.323/.525 in 14.1 innings.
- June: 4-1, 1.59 ERA in 6 starts. Batters hit .198/.229/.257 in 28.1 innings.
- July: 1-1, 3.24 ERA in 5 starts. Batters hit .268/.294/.402 in 25.0 innings.
- August: 1-1, 1.96 ERA in 3 starts. Batters hit .203/.214/.304 in 18.1 innings.
- September: 4-0, 3.24 ERA in 6 starts. Batters hit .214/.242/.373 in 33.1 innings.
The Jays were 17-7 in his starts. They averaged 5.84 runs in his starts. They scored 3 or fewer runs in 7 of his starts, and 2 or fewer in 4.
In Stripling’s starts:
- On 4 days of rest: 2.76 ERA, batters hit .233/.251/.378 in 14 starts.
- On 5 days of rest: .2.87 ERA, batters hit .250/.2666/.350 in 6 starts.
- On 6 or more days of rest: 3.54, batters hit .178/.241/.260 in 4 starts.
Times through the order in starts:
- 1st time: Batters hit .206/.232/.301, in 185 PA.
- 2nd time: Batters hit .248/.278/.364, in 169 PA.
- 3rd time: Batters hit .246/.246/.492, in 61 PA.
By Catcher batters hit:
- Jansen: .212/.244/.337 in 270 PA.
- Kirk: .246/.278/.391 in 115 PA.
- Moreno: .245/.283/.351 in 99 PA.
Collins and Heineman caught him a couple of times.
Ross’ best start by GameScore was a 78. August 17th at home against the Orioles. He went 6.1 allowed 1 hit, no walks with 7 strikeouts.
His worst start was a 27, September 20th at Philadelphia. He went 4 innings, allowed 9 hits, 5 earned, no walks and 3 strikeouts.
The most pitches Stripling threw in a start was 95. He averaged 5.1 innings per start.
Ross averaged 91.9 MPH on his fastball, much the same as he has his whole career.
The Qualifying Offer, for next season, is $19.65 million, which gives the Jays something to think about, since Ross made $3.79 million last year.
We can draw parallels to Marco Estrada, who, like Stripling, got by with a low 90’s fastball. and came to free agency after the two best seasons of his career (3.8 and 3.6 bWAR). They came to an agreement on a 2-year, $26 million contract. Marco would be 33 in the first year of the contract and Stripling will also be 33 next year.
Marco wasn’t the same pitcher over the two years of the contract. He had bWARs of 1.7 and 0.4.
Ross? Who knows? One example is kind of the definition of ‘small sample size’. I would imagine the team would try to do much the same thing, a two-year deal at a somewhat lower yearly average than the QO but enough to make Ross think he’s gaining. Maybe two years at $15 to 17 million a year?
Let’s try a poll:
If the deal is two years at $16 million per, the Jays
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Should sign Stripling.
Should not sign Stripling
Stripling brought his walk and home run rates way down. I guess the team will have to decide if that’s a one-year thing or if it is sustainable.
And, of course, they have to decide if Ross might have that little drop in velocity that Marco had at that age, that might make him that much more hittable.
If you want optimism, Ross hasn’t been overworked over the years. Pitchers that don’t throw a ton of innings in their 20s often do better in their 30s.
Whatever happens, it has been a pleasure watching Ross pitch. As much as it is fun to watch a pitcher blow fastballs past hitters, pitchers that have to use the change of speed and location and smarts to get the outs are my favourites.
For his 2022 season, I’d grade Ross Stripling an
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