Ross Stripling

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Thomas Ross Stripling

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Biographical Information[edit]

Pitcher Ross Stripling has been a starter and a reliever after starting his major league career with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He pitched in the 2017 World Series and was an All-Star in 2018.

Ross was a 5th-round pick by the Dodgers in the 2012 amateur draft, out of Texas A&M University (Michael Wacha was drafted in the first round from Texas A&M the same year). The scout was Clint Bowers. A little over a year after signing with the Dodgers, he had to undergo Tommy John surgery, missing all of the 2014 season.

He went to spring training with the Dodgers in 2016 completely under the radar, having never pitched above AA, but managed to make the team's starting rotation, taking advantage of a string of injuries that sidelined more heralded candidates for the job. He made his major league debut facing the San Francisco Giants on April 8th at AT&T Park. He was simply outstanding, not giving up a hit in 7 1/3 innings, although he did walk four batters. After he issued his fourth walk of the evening, putting Angel Pagan on base with one out in the 8th, rookie manager Dave Roberts took him out of the game because he had reached a pitch count limit. It was a somewhat controversial decision, as Stripling had a shot at making history - only Bumpus Jones had ever pitched a no-hitter in his major league debut - but most commentators agreed that there was no reason to take a chance with over-extending such a young pitcher. Chris Hatcher was summoned from the bullpen and surrendered a two-run homer to Trevor Brown. Stripling ended up with a no-decision as the Giants won the game in the 10th inning on a walk-off homer by Brandon Crawford. He had a few more good starts after that, but had to wait until May 13th to record his first major league win when he defeated the St. Louis Cardinals, 8-4. On May 22nd, he recorded a win in relief; it was not planned, as he was pressed into action when a game against the San Diego Padres went deep into extra innings. Scheduled to start the next day, he was brought in in the 15th inning and ended up pitching three scoreless frames as the Dodgers scored four times in the top of the 17th to win, 9-5. He finished the year at 5-9, 3.96.

Stripling was a starter in two-thirds of his games as a rookie. His ERA and WHIP improved in his second year, 2017 when he became primarily a reliever. He pitched in 49 games with only 2 starts, going 3-5, 3.75, also recording 2 saves. He had pitched 5 games, all in relief, in 2016, and was on the mound five more times in the postseason, without allowing a run, as the Dodgers made it all the way to Game 7 of the World Series before bowing out to the Houston Astros. In his third year, 2018 he was back to starting two-thirds of his games as his ERA improved yet again. He was a late addition to the National League squad for the 2018 All-Star Game after going 8-2, 2.08 in the first half, but he couldn't keep that up, finishing at 8-6, 3.02 in 33 games. His 122 innings were a personal best, as were his 136 strikeouts, but he was not used at all in the postseason as the Dodgers made it back to the World Series, this time losing to the Boston Red Sox. In 2019, he was the starting pitcher in 15 of his 32 games, ending up at 4-4, 3.47. He pitched only 1 postseason inning, in Game 4 of the NLDS, as the Dodgers were upset by the Washington Nationals.

In 2020, now 30 years old, but never having been given a chance to take a regular turn in the starting rotation over an entire season, he finally got his chance at the start of the year. This was due to three veteran starters, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Rich Hill and Kenta Maeda, leaving the Dodgers during the off-season, and the pitcher tabbed to replace them, David Price, deciding to sit out the season due to the coronavirus pandemic. As a result, Stripling found himself the #3 starter of the consensus best team in the National League, behind Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler, and the opportunity was his to take. However, he did not pitch particularly well in his 7 starts, even if he went 3-1, as he gave up a league-leading 12 homers in 33 2/3 innings, to go along with an ERA of 5.61. The Dodgers just gave up on him at that point and traded him to the Toronto Blue Jays on August 31st, in return for Kendall Williams and a player to be named later. With the Blue Jays during the rest of the regular season, he pitched 15 2/3 innings with an ERA of 6.32. He did record 1 save when he pitched 4 scoreless innings to nail down a 14-1 win over the New York Yankees on September 23rd.

In 2021, he returned to the Blue Jays and was their fifth starter for most of the season, making 19 starts in 24 appearances and finishing at 5-7, 4.80. He struck out 94 batters in 101 1/3 innings. White the numbers were not overly impressive, the Jays appreciated his ability to pitch in different roles and give them a good number of innings. He was slated to be mainly a long reliever in 2022, but was kept stretched out coming out of spring training in case the team needed another starter, a need that arose very quickly as Hyun-jin Ryu had to go on the injured list after just a couple of starts. He filled in for him from April 15th to May 7th, making 5 starts during which he went 0-1 but with a decent ERA at 4.29. He returned to the bullpen for another stretch, picking up a win and a save in 6 outings, then returned to the starting rotation on June 6th when Ryu went down again. His first two starts were both brilliant, as he gave up no runs on just 2 hits in 11 innings, walking none and striking out 6. He was 3-1, 3.14 at the end of the second of these on June 12th.

He is the best-known contemporary practitioner of one of baseball's rarest pitches, the knuckle-curve, made famous by one of his predecessors on the Dodgers, Burt Hooton. It is a tough pitch to master, but can be devastatingly effective when thrown well, as it was during the first half of the 2018 season.

In the off-seasons, he works as a financial advisor with B. Riley Wealth Management, with $10 million in assets under his management. This stems from the bachelor's degree in finance he obtained at Texas A&M. He found a job in the trading industry when rehabbing from Tommy John surgery in 2014, to have a fallback option in case he wasn't able to make it back. He has also developed a sideline as a financial advisor to teammates who are looking to invest their earnings smartly, which consists largely of demystifying the world of investments and explaining some of the more arcane concepts, and not handling the money himself.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • NL All-Star (2018)

Further Reading[edit]

  • Keegan Matheson: "Jay trader: Toronto pitcher is a stocks whiz", mlb.com, February 4, 2021. [1]

Related Sites[edit]