Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Scouting report: RHP Ross Stripling, Los Angeles Dodgers' prospect

After the first couple rounds of the MLB Draft, it’s pretty much a crapshoot. Sometimes there are gems found later in the draft: Matt Kemp (sixth round), Joc Pederson (11th round) and Matt Magill (31st round).

So, when the Dodgers drafted Ross Stripling in the fifth round, not much was made of the selection.

In his brief career, he’s proving to the team and all those who passed on him that he was worthy of a better draft position.

I saw Stripling on April 30 against the Stockton Ports. He wasn’t overly impressive – stats-wise – but he showed a lot of good things in his outing. That’s saying something, seeing as it was hit worst start of the season.

Luckily, he followed it up with a great start in San Jose before being promoted to Double-A.

Editor's note: I am not a scout (#notascout). This is an amateur scouting report based on what I know about baseball and from following the sport all my life. I don't claim to be a pro, I just want to pass along the information to the masses. Enjoy.

How he got here

Stripling, 23, was a fifth-round pick by the Dodgers in the 2012 MLB Draft. Stripling pitched collegiately at Texas A&M University and was a senior when he was popped by the Dodgers. He was drafted in the ninth round of the draft by the Colorado Rockies in 2011.

He signed for less than the $228,900 recommended slot amount. The Dodgers inked him for $130,000. As a college senior, Stripling didn’t have much leverage.

Stripling debuted with the Ogden Raptors last year and was impressive. His innings were limited due to a large workload in college. Stripling threw just 36 1/3 innings. He allowed just 26 hits, six walks and no home runs. He also struck out 37 in those 36 1/3 innings.

He opened 2013 with the High-A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes in the California League. He was promoted to Double-A on May 7 after impressing in the hitter’s league.


Stripling is a big, athletic guy. He checks in at 6’3, 190 pounds, though, he’s probably a little bigger than that.


Stripling boasts a nice four-pitch mix:

  • Fastball (can sink and cut it)
  • Curveball
  • Changeup
  • Slider
Stripling was an 88-91 MPH pitcher in college. Since being draft, he’s consistently been in the low-90s. I saw him in person earlier this month and he touched 94 MPH on a few occasions.

There were questions about his velocity and whether he could sustain it. So far, he’s done just that. When he sinks and cuts his fastball, it tops out in the high-80s. The two-seamer features just a little arm-side run. His four-seamer sits at 90-93 and tops out at 94.

Stripling’s curveball is probably his best secondary offering. It features a classic 12-6 break, but he can also throw it with a little more tilt at 11-5. It’s a pitch that is in the 76-78 MPH range. It has a chance to be a plus pitch.

His changeup might be his most improved pitch. Once thought of as an average-at-best offering, his changeup now has a change to be plus. He throws it in the 80-83 MPH range and features late diving action away from left-handed hitters. He throws it more against lefties than righties.

Stripling’s slider is a work in progress. He threw just when I saw him in person. It was an 87 MPH pitch that got him a strikeout. It’s a pitch he’s said he wants to improve and have it become a weapon. It’s hard to make a judgment off one pitch, but he only threw it once, leading me to believe he’s not yet confident enough in it to throw it more often. He’ll need another pitch to throw against right-handers if he doesn’t have his curveball working on a particular day. This is a fringe-average pitch at the moment.

On the night I saw him, Stripling wasn’t particularly sharp in this outing. He didn’t have great command of his curveball, leading to a 6:10 strike-to-ball ratio with the pitch. This showed with a season-high-tying three walks. His changeup was much more efficient (nine strikes, three balls).


Like many Dodger draftees, Stripling’s delivery is clean and polished. There’s no funk or any herky-jerky motion. It’s smooth and picturesque. He’s able to repeat it relatively easily. However, when he doesn’t, his mechanics get out of sorts and he has trouble commanding his pitches.

From the stretch, his delivery is much like it is from the windup. He didn’t feature much of a slide step. He was about 1.4 seconds from the beginning of his delivery to pop/contact.

Stripling throws from a true over-the-top arm angle, allowing him to get nice downward plane on his pitches.

Also like many Dodger pitching prospects, Stripling is athletic and should be a plus fielder as a pitcher. He falls off just a bit toward the first-base side – not uncommon. His athleticism should allow him to make up for that.


Here’s how I would grade Stripling.



Stripling is much better than his fifth-round draft slot. If the 2012 draft were held again, I could see Stripling easily being a third-rounder with what’s known now. His ceiling is as a middle-of-the-rotation starter who will post solid numbers. He isn’t going to be a strikeout-per-inning pitcher, but he’ll be able to get a strikeout when he needs it.

His makeup is great. He keeps his composure on the mound and has a good amount of pitchability, not unlike now-teammate Zach Lee.

Stripling’s athleticism, clean and repeatable mechanics, intelligence and poise should allow him to have a long and prosperous Major League career.

Photo credit: Dustin Nosler, Feelin' Kinda Blue

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