It feels like we’ve discussed this before. When Ross Stripling stepped into the rotation for Hyun Jin Ryu, none of us thought it would be as a full-time starting pitcher. Some fans thought that at the deadline, if the Blue Jays could pick up a suitable replacement, then Stripling could return to his valuable swingman role for the remainder of the season.
Well, there were a few things that happened to mess up that plan.
Yusei Kikuchi has not met the basic expectation of a Major League starting pitcher after being given multiple chances. One will wonder what could have been if this team misses the playoffs by a game or two. There has been no one at all in Triple-A that is ready to be a mainstay in the American League East. Thomas Hatch, Casey Lawerence, and Bowden Francis have struggled at the MLB level when called upon and Nate Pearson is currently rehabbing as a reliever after missing a good chunk of the season on the IL.
The Blue Jays also didn’t acquire a starting pitcher at the trade deadline and this solidified Stripling in the rotation for the rest of 2022. When you look at his numbers in 2022, this is the best year he has had since he was an All-Star in 2018. He will more than likely eclipse his highest innings pitched total for his career, currently sitting at 107.0 and compared to his career high of 120 back in 2018. Stripling has only given up nine home runs in 2022 and has been solid on the mound with a 1.03 WHIP, which is the lowest in his career.
Swingman turned full-time starting pitcher Ross Stripling has been a huge asset this year for the 2022 Toronto Blue Jays
The right-hander has been giving the team quality starts since he returned from the injured list. His opponent’s batting average is currently the lowest it has been in his career at .227. The carryover from his delivery adjustments from 2021 with the addition of his split change has worked exponentially. It’s worked so well that as a Blue Jays fan, it feels like Stripling gives you a solid opportunity to win every time he takes the bump. Let’s also not forget he is also a control pitcher having success in the toughest division in baseball.
With Kikuchi failing and the depth in the Minor Leagues not meeting expectations, it would be hard to believe that the Blue Jays would be a playoff contender without Stripling. Just take a look at how the pitching staff lines up right now. This upcoming series with Stripling’s hometown Texas Rangers feature him, Kevin Gausman, and potentially Jose Berrios unless the club decides to move the rotation around given the upcoming doubleheader against Tampa Bay next week.
Stripling currently boasts 2.0 WAR on the year and has been one the better starters on this time. At this point in time, there is no one to replace Ross Stripling and the Blue Jays would be in a tough spot without him.