Jared Massey: Thanks for taking the time to answer some questions, Ross! First, tell us a little about yourself. Where you grew up, how you got into baseball.
Ross Stripling: I was born in Blue Bell, Pa but grew up in Southlake, TX. Played football, basketball, and baseball all through high school. I was a shortstop until I broke my leg senior year playing basketball, which is the only reason I ever started pitching. As far as about myself, I love traveling (been to Jamaica, St Johns, Bahamas, Hawaii, Amsterdam, London, brussels, Canada, etc). I have a lakehouse so I love the lake, wakeboarding, tubing etc. I also like to hunt, play PS3, and spend time with my family.
JM: If you could, give us a scouting report of yourself. What pitches you throw, your current height/weight.
RS: 6'3" 190 pounds. Athletic build with room to grow and gain weight. I throw from a high three-quarters arm slot and have very simple mechanics. Fastball is anywhere from 88-93mph. Knuckle curve is by far my best pitch, typically 78-81mph, and my change up is 77-79mph.
JM: Do you consider yourself a power pitcher, a control pitcher or somewhere in between?
RS: I would characterize myself as somewhere in the middle. I am not a flame thrower by any means, but I also throw hard enough to keep people off balance and be able to challenge hitters with my fastball. I throw more off speed than an average pitcher, which will be something I will have to work on, but that typically means i am more of a "control" pitcher.
JM: What past or current pitchers do you admire or pattern yourself after?
RS: I am one of the few pitchers I know that throw a true knuckle curve, so I typically characterize myself as similar to Mike Mussina because he also threw the knuckle curve.
JM: Now, getting into your career. Tell us about the experience of pitching at Texas A&M for the past 4 years.
RS: Pitching at Texas A&M was a dream come true plus more. I am a third generation Aggie (my grandfather was a yell leader in 1946). I was going to go to A&M and just be a engineer and a student, but decided to ask Coach Childress if he would let me walk on. He did, and I made my way onto the team as a reliever my freshman year. From there, I learned a changeup which allowed me to become a starter and my career just took off from there. It was a privilege to represent Texas A&M for four years, help in the community, and finish my degree in Finance. Looking back I will remember all my teammates and coaches, pitching at Olsen Field, and being lucky in that my family and friends were always there to support me at hundreds of games over my career.
JM: How have you evolved as a pitcher from the time you were in high school til now?
RS: In high school, I was mainly 84-87mph with a developing curveball but no changeup. When I got to A&M, I was told to hit the weight room hard and to eat as much as possible. By the time I left Aggieland, I was 25 pounds heavier and equipped with a changeup. I credit Coach Childress and some older pitchers for taking me under their wings and really teaching me how to compete, change speeds, and become a smarter pitcher on the mound. My biggest strides on the mound have been in the simple development of my pitches, fielding my position, learning to attack and outsmart hitters, and dealing with the pressure of big situations in big games.
JM: During your Freshman season, you worked out of the bullpen. For the past three years, you've started. Do you prefer one role or the other? Would you be willing to do either as a pro?
RS: I do not prefer starting or the bullpen. I feel like my changeup allows me to start but my curveball may be more effective from the bullpen in short stints. I am definitely willing to do either and whichever helps the organization succeed.
JM: On May 12th, you pitched a no-hitter against San Diego State. Tell us about that amazing experience.
RS: The no-hitter will most likely be the first memory to come to mind when I think back of my college career. It was an unbelievable experience. You almost wish you could go back and enjoy it, because at the time you're just stressed out and trying to keep your team in the game. It was funny because not only did I have a no-hitter, it was only a 1-0 game so if I gave up a hit or anything, SDSU was right back in the ball game. It was pretty awesome when I got that last strike out, watched the crowd erupt and then got smothered by my teammates. My whole family was there too, grandparents and all, so that made it even better.
JM: Now that you're a pro, what are your goals, both short term and long term?
RS: Short term goals are to continuing developing my body and my pitches. I most likely will need to develop a slider or a 4th pitch to become a quality starter. I will also look to put on weight and velocity and make any mechanical changes that the coaches see fit. As far as long term goals, obviously I want to move up as fast as possible but recognize that it is a journey to the big leagues that could take years, so I just want to do everything possible to help whichever team I play for and the organization as a whole.
JM: Lastly, if Dodger fans had to know just one thing about you, what would it be?
RS: If the Dodgers could know anything about me, it would be that I am pretty nerdy. I graduated college with a 3.7 in Finance. I often spend spare time reading. I also like to keep up with the stock market and investments. So far, I have been relatively successful. People usually get a kick out of my "nerdyness."
11) Thanks for taking the time, Ross and good luck!
Dodger Draft Pick Q&A: Ross Stripling
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