Feb 26, 2014; Salt River Pima-Maricopa, AZ, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Ross Stripling (68) throws against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the seventh inning at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
The 2013 Los Angeles Dodgers were an example of the cliche “you can’t have too much pitching.” Going into the season, Dodger fans were calling for the team to trade away the depth in the starting rotation for help on the infield, but the Dodgers needed all the arms they could get. 11 different pitchers got a start for the team in 2013, including 10 of them with five or more starts, including Ricky Nolasco who the Dodgers traded for in the middle of the season. This is exactly why a potential injury to a minor league pitcher is both minor league and big league news for the Dodgers.
Ross Stripling will undergo an MRI Friday after experiencing elbow discomfort during his two-inning outing on Wednesday. According to multiple sources, the discomfort actually began earlier in the week, but Stripling did not alert any of the coaches or trainers.
The Dodgers currently list seven players on their starting pitcher depth chart, but Stripling is among several young arms that could get a shot in the big leagues this season. Stripling has a fastball that can touch 95 to go with a big curve, sharp slider, and has shown a decent feel for a change. He was drafted in the fifth round of the 2012 MLB draft, four rounds after his Texas A&M teammate and St. Louis Cardinals starter Michael Wacha, and has posted a minor league ERA of 2.47 over 164 innings.
If the MRI results don’t reveal any structural damage, and Stripling can stay healthy this season, he may be a real option by mid-season this year. He projects a ceiling as high as a number three, but will likely fit in as a solid number four or five starter.