Starting with the obvious
As I was writing the opening slide of this article, I couldn’t help but think about the perfect example on the current MLB roster for the Blue Jays. Quite simply, where would the Blue Jays be without Ross Stripling this year?
The veteran right-hander has been a crucial contributor this season, especially since he stepped into the rotation for the injured Hyun Jin Ryu, who is out for the rest of this season and more after having Tommy John surgery. Stripling has not only filled an important role, he’s flourished since moving back into a starting role. Coming into last night’s outing agains the Red Sox the 32 year old had posted a 2.77 ERA and a 0.974 WHIP over 78 innings pitched, and he was strong again last night at Fenway Park against the Red Sox, going 6.0 innings and allowing just one earned run on six hits and a walk.
Not only has Stripling’s performance been significant in making up for the loss of Ryu, he’s also added some stability in a year where the rotation has really needed it. Jose Berrios has been a Jekyl and Hyde arm for most of the year, and Yusei Kikuchi lost his fastball command to the point where he was moved to the bullpen. As of now the rotation features Gausman, Manoah, Berrios, Stripling, and the newly acquired Mitch White.
Looking at the depth chart even further, that might be where Stripling’s value becomes even more obvious. Instead of having a nice stable of Triple-A starters this year, like I thought they would back in February or March, it’s been anything but. They’ve seen injuries for guys like Nate Pearson, Anthony Kay, and more, and it’s a little scary to think about where John Schneider would have to turn if they had more injury issues.
Stripling’s contract will be up at the end of the year, and if I was working in the Blue Jays front office I would be making a strong push to retain one of the most reliable arms they’ve got. It’s hard to imagine where they’d be without him right now.