Hometown: Southlake, Texas
Born: November 23, 1989
The unheralded ace of one of the top teams in the country, Ross Stripling went undrafted out of high school, despite a stellar career at one of Texas’ most prestigious athletic programs (Carroll HS), that included a 14-0 record and 1.60 ERA as a senior, his only year spent on the mound.
He caught the eye of A&M, who brought him in and utilized him out of the bullpen as a freshman. He moved into the rotation as a sophomore and started a team-high 17 games in 2010, finishing with a 6-5 record and 4.50 ERA. Despite his inferior status, he got the ball for the Aggies in the Big 12 Championship Game, and performed exceptionally well, holding Baylor to two runs in six innings.
Last season, Stripling blossomed, winning a NCAA-best 14 games and posting a 2.29 ERA. Not too bad after beginning the season as A&M’s closer. He was the absolute portrait of control, walking just 18 batters in 125.2 innings, compared to 113 strikeouts. His four complete-games led the squad. Once again, he was at his best in the clutch, tossing a complete-game shutout against Texas on the final day of the season that clinched a share of the regular season Big 12 title.
His performance in 2011 was enough to get him noticed come draft season, and the Rockies drafted him in the ninth-round. Stripling spurned the team’s advances and returned to A&M for his senior season, which has gone exceptionally well. In 11 starts, he has seven victories, three complete games and a 77-to-14 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
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.
Fastball: 89-94 mph
Curveball: 78-84 mph
Changeup: 79-84 mph