Stripling has never been the most heralded pitcher on his own staff, but he's continued to pitch like it. For two years now, he's performed like an ace, though, including pitching the 14th no-hitter in Aggie history against San Diego State.
So, why hasn't he gotten more attention? Why is Michael Wacha the one to watch? Because Stripling pitches better than his stuff right now and he's doing it against lesser competition in an instantly offensive-starved environment from these new BBCOR bats.
There is good news, though. He's got clean mechanics, showing that Power L that we love to see. He doesn't land violently and is in a pretty good position to field once he finishes his delivery. From the video I've seen, there don't seem to be any obvious red flags based on how he's throwing.
Again, why doesn't that help him? His stuff is just so-so. He's got a fastball that sits 88-91 with a nice curve and a developing change. Do you know who that reminds me of? Jordan Lyles. I could see Stripling having similar success in the lower minors before he slowed down higher up.
Any pitcher who's going to be drafted in the fifth round or later will be compared to Tropeano, but I think Stripling can do a little something with his upside. Part of that is he's not been a starter for long, meaning he's got room to grow and develop a better feel for his secondary stuff. He has good control right now and I could see him following the Jake Buchanan route through the minors.
Will he ever equal throwing a no-hitter on the same day he graduated? Probably not, but I do think he's got some potential here, even if it's less than his higher-profile teammates.
There isn't a great track record of Texas A&M pitchers coming out of college right now, since most of them have come down with arm injuries. That's the same knock that Wayne Graham developed for years, but I'm not sure how relevant it is. If Stripling can avoid the injury bug, he's got a chance to be a reliever with his curve as his main pitch.
He's shown this season with Texas A&M that he can pitch as a workhorse starter, and I think that's the upside here. He's a third or fourth starter with his current fastball velocity who may flash potential from time to time if his offspeed stuff is working well.
Projected Draft Round
Looks like most draft projections have him going somewhere around the fifth or sixth rounds, possibly falling to eighth.
Will he sign?
Stripling was taken in the ninth round last season and did not sign. He doesn't have much of a choice this time around, since he's a senior and can't go back into the draft.
Bibliography after the jump
He found a home in the weekend rotation as a sophomore, going 6-5, 4.50 in 88 innings, and he tied for the national lead in wins as a junior, going 14-2, 2.29 in 126 innings. Stripling split time as a starter and a bullpen anchor last year because of the team's needs, but as Childress put it, he's built to be a starter. The development of his 77-78 mph changeup to complement his 88-91 fastball and signature hammer curveball in the 75-78 range has made a big difference.
He won't be a first-rounder — the stuff is good but not elite. Thinking more along the lines of 5-8 rounder.
Tall, wide well developed shoulders; not projectable - Delivery fairly well in sync; not all that fluid with a bit of effort involved - Shortish arm action; delivers ball from an overhand arm slot - Fastball delivered on a steep downward plane with some arm side run - Fastball is not overpowering but has heavy ground ball qualities - Change has steady drop and good downward plane - ction is fairly significant and blends in well with the fastball; good deception - Change has some swing and miss abilities - 12-6 curve ball with a lot of depth; not overly powerful - Curve has good steep break that he buries in the dirt well; arm slot and height helps pitch - Curve ball keeps its shape well when thrown in or out of the zone - Disguises his off speed pitches well - Pounds the bottom half of the zone and shows good command of all of his pitches - Moves pitches around the zone well and works very efficiently - Mixes pitches effectively and cruised through hitters - Works very quickly
From a scout’s standpoint, there isn’t too much to get excited about with Stripling. He’s basically a two-pitch guy, but fortunately for him, both his fastball and curveball are excellent pitches. He would probably profile better as a reliever, which no doubt disappointed scouts who were hoping to see him remain in the bullpen last season.
Of course, considering he’s only been a full-time pitcher for five seasons now (one HS, four college), there still might be time to teach Stripling a changeup and try to mold him into a middle-rotation starter.