It seems as though every year, there is a Dodgers player working on a changeup in Spring. While it is usually reported to be Clayton Kershaw, this year it is Ross Stripling. The difference this year is that this new pitch could prove to be incredibly useful throughout the season.
— SportsNet LA (@SportsNetLA) February 24, 2020
In his first start of spring, Stripling looked good against the White Sox. He mixed in a few different changeups throughout and mentioned that he got a swing and miss, a check swing, and a take on three attempts. Stripling pitched one inning and struck out two in his Cactus League debut.
In a conversation we had with Ross at his podcast’s live event, Ross told us that new pitching coach Connor McGuiness helped changed the grip on his changeup. Stripling described the grip as a circle-change grip but with your fingers spread more out to put less pressure on his ring finger. The Dodgers’ newest pitching coach spent last season with the Rancho Quakes.
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Whatever the new grip is, we’re excited he has added to his already lethal repertoire. Stripling’s big curveball was his putaway pitch by a wide margin in 2019, as it has been his entire career. And it makes sense, given that his curveball produces a .192 wOBA and 33% whiff percentage.
In regards to his change, Stripling threw it just 37 times to right-handed batters last year, while throwing it 175 to lefties. That’s something he hopes his new changeup can overcome.
Ross right now is in no-mans land in regards to the starting rotation. The team wants him there and he would like to be there, but the Dodgers are packed with starting options. It may turn out that he spends a decent amount of time in the bullpen while making spot starts. But this is what Spring Training is for, there is plenty of time to sort things out.