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Ross Stripling (SP, LAD) - Fantasy Baseball Draft Sleepers

BALLER MOVE: Draft target ~pick 180

CURRENT ADP: ~215 overall

ANALYSIS: Entering his age-29 season, Ross Stripling will begin the year locked into a rotation spot for the first time in his career. Stripling showed us an excellent first half in 2018 that led to his first ever All-Star selection. An injury-riddled second half put a damper on his season as a whole, but he still ended his year going 8-6 with a 3.02 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, and 6.18 K/BB in 122 IP. Stripling's disappointing finish has caused many people to jump off the right-hander’s bandwagon, but here’s why we should stay on board.

Stripling began the 2018 season in the bullpen but due to injuries in the pitching staff, he was put back in the rotation at the beginning of May. From May 6 to the All-Star break, he threw 76.1 IP with a 2.01 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, 10.54 K/9, and 0.83 BB/9. It’s no fluke he was elected an All-Star as his underlying metrics support these numbers. His 2.63 SIERA and 2.44 xFIP suggest he never pitched that far out of his ERA. Stripling still managed to give up a high BABIP (.311) despite having a stellar 51.8% GB% and a low 29.4% Hard%.

By season's end, Stripling still finished with career-highs in K/9 (10.03) and BB/9 (1.62). His yearly upward trending Chase% and Whiff% also reached a new peak due to his increased use of his curveball, which generated the highest Whiff% (16.4%) of all his pitches. His expected .223 AVG, .266 wOBA, and .355 SLG slash line were all under his actual slash line (.257/.309/.431), so it's arguable that the best is still to come.

With a current ADP of 220, Stripling isn’t seeing a ton of love by early drafters, mostly because his 122 IP last year was the most he’s thrown in a season since the TJ surgery. It may appear like he’s injury prone, but his two stints last season were his first trips to the DL since May of 2016. The same can’t be said for the rest of the Dodgers starters, so Stripling should be a lock to keep his job throughout the year and deliver consistent value.

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