Stripling is a maestro at limiting hard contact with his changeup, especially against left-handed hitters. He threw it 138 more times to lefties than righties and gave up no barrels all season, while inducing a 65% ground-ball rate. Not without whiffs, his changeup produced the highest SwStr% of all his pitches (yes, including the curveball) at a whopping 17.2%.
Stripling’s claim to fame, his curve is downright nasty. Its 58.7 inches of drop tantalizes opposing hitters who could only muster a .192 wOBA against it last year. His command of the pitch is what sets it apart, as he threw it for a called strike 20.1% of the time.
Stripling’s fastball is to his curve what a delightful appetizer is to a dynamite dinner. Everyone’s there for the main course, but boy did that appetizer set it up right. The four-seamer’s spin axis perfectly mirrors the curve (180 degrees of separation), making either difficult for opposing hitters to pick up and, thus, a perfect set-up for the out pitch.
Decreasing in frequency each of the past three seasons, Stripling’s slider lags behind his other two offspeed offerings. It was barreled 9.6% of the time and only generated a 12.3% K rate. However, the pitch has some serious bite, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see Stripling experiment and adapt the pitch to become more of a ‘slutter’ this season.
Stripling only throws the four-seamer about 40% of the time, and it comes at a fairly wide range of velocities. It pounded the zone last season, though batters knocked it around a bit when they made contact.
The slider is Stripling’s main breaking ball, slightly ahead of the big curve. It lost movement last season, and batters hit .302 against it. Stripling would be wise to increase curveball usage at the expense of the slider.
Stripling’s hook is his third pitch, just behind the slider in usage. It was a certified Money Pitch last season and finished with a 5.7 pVal.
Stripling doesn’t throw a ton of changeups, and the pitch performed poorly in 2018. The movement on the offering declined, and it had career-low zone rates.
Most likely a four-seamer, there are times Stripling’s fastball adds a touch of lateral glove-side movement at the cost of a few ticks. It’s a rare occurence, and adds a little extra flavor to Stripling’s already deep repertoire.