Tag: Hyun-Jin Ryu

Hyun-Jin Ryu Injury: Updates on Dodgers Pitcher’s Elbow and Return

Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu was scratched from his start on Wednesday due to elbow discomfort, according to Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times

Continue for updates.

Ryu Expected to Be Out Indefinitely 

Tuesday, July 19

Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball reported “Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman acknowledged an exam took place, saying there were ‘no notable changes’ from past MRIs and that rest is the prescribed course of action for now.”

Ryu, 29, has started just one game since 2014. He missed all of 2015 with shoulder issues that eventually required surgery on his left labrum, and he missed the first three months of the 2016 season with more shoulder woes. He made his only start of the year on July 7, pitching 4.2 innings and giving up six runs on eight hits and two walks.

It’s been a disappointing two years for Ryu, who flashed a lot of potential with the Dodgers in his first two seasons. He is 28-16 with a 3.28 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP in his career. 

It’s another blow for a Dodgers rotation that has been beset by multiple injuries this season. Superstar Clayton Kershaw and starter Alex Wood are on the disabled list, while Brett Anderson hasn’t made an appearance yet this season.

The Dodgers also placed Casey Fien on the DL while reinstating Joc Pederson and recalling Luis Avilan—who will slide into the team’s bullpen—from Triple-A in corresponding roster moves.

Kenta Maeda, Scott Kazmir, Bud Norris and Brandon McCarthy will remain the core of the team’s rotation, with Kershaw sliding back into the mix once he’s healthy.


You can follow Timothy Rapp on Twitter.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Byung-Ho Park Can Follow Footsteps of Jung-Ho Kang’s Instant MLB Breakout

The Korean Baseball Organization has to be taken seriously.

The country’s premier baseball league’s last two significant imports have both produced at high major league levels, and now a third has the potential to be the best of the group.

On the heels of Hyun-jin Ryu and Jung-ho Kang, the KBO has posted its first potentially impactful power-hitting prospect in Byung-ho Park. The 29-year-old first baseman hit 53 home runs in the KBO last season, 52 the year before and was the league’s MVP in 2012 and 2013. He could recapture the award for the 2015 season.

During Major League Baseball’s general manager meetings last week, it was announced that the Minnesota Twins submitted the winning bid—$12.85 million—for the rights to negotiate a contract with Park. If the Twins cannot work out a deal with Park within 30 days from the time they won the bidding, which happened on Nov. 9, they will be refunded the bid and Park will return to Korea.

“Our evaluators think he can make the transition [to the majors],” Twins general manager Terry Ryan told John Shipley of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. “We’ve seen him play a lot and we think he can help lengthen our lineup and make it work out for everybody.” 

The KBO is known as a hitter-friendly league, but coming on the heels of Kang’s breakout 2015 with the Pittsburgh Pirates, who posted a $5 million bid to negotiate with him, there is a more legitimate belief that Park can step into the majors and have a meaningful impact right away.

Kang, a former teammate of Park in Korea, was not seen as the kind of player who might finish third in National League Rookie of the Year voting when he finished his first spring training with the Pirates. He batted .200 with 17 strikeouts in 45 at-bats after hitting .356/.459/.739 the season before in the KBO. But after making the team’s Opening Day roster and eventually becoming its starting shortstop, Kang finished the season with a .287/.355/.461 with an .816 OPS and 124 OPS+.

Knowing it is possible for dominant KBO hitters to have success in the majors, Park is being looked at as more than just a player who would succeed in the minors. According to two MLB officials with teams that pursued Park, the exit velocities off his bat were on par with some of the best hitters in the majors, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported.

“The thought process from our scouts who have seen him extensively is that this guy has an outstanding chance to come over here and be a middle-of-the-order presence,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said on MLB Network last week. “We decided to pursue it mainly because it’s a big right-handed bat that we feel is going to play over here.”

Other successful KBO players have all been pitchers before Kang. Most recently it has been Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Hyun-jin Ryu, who has given his club a 3.14 ERA and 2.97 FIP over his two seasons. He missed last year with a shoulder injury, but during his first two years with the Dodgers, Ryu’s FanGraphs WAR was on the same level as ace Zack Greinke.

Of course, hitters are different and come with a different set of judging criteria. As an example, Eric Thames, who managed to play only two major league seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays and Seattle Mariners, hit 47 homers in the KBO last season. Also, pitchers typically throw much slower in Korea. 

Park hit .343/.436/.714 with a 1.150 OPS last season, but he also struck out 161 times in 622 plate appearances. Those strikeouts are a result of a long swing, and it will most certainly have to be compacted if he is going to hit the kind of fastballs with which major league pitchers will definitely challenge him.

But again, Kang’s success as a hitter this past season with Pittsburgh is seen as a positive thing for Park’s transition, assuming the Twins are able to sign him.

“He’s right in the prime of his career,” Ryan told Shipley. “He’s got of lot of baseball behind him in that Korean league, which is similar to the Japanese league. They have some decent players there that have had some success in the major leagues.”

Park is likely to find some of that in the American League, where he’d likely be a designated hitter. Those exit velocities do not lie, and there are plenty of current major leaguers who are All-Stars despite massive strikeout totals

Park has the talent to be the next player of that ilk, further solidifying the KBO as more than just a place to find pitchers.


All quotes, unless otherwise specified, have been acquired firsthand by Anthony Witrado. Follow Anthony on Twitter @awitrado and talk baseball here.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

With Brandon McCarthy’s 2015 Over, Dodgers Must Make Moves to Address Rotation

It’s a good thing the Los Angeles Dodgers have arguably the best one-two pitching punch in Major League Baseball with Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke atop their staff. They’re going to need it.

In the wake of the lingering-since-spring-training left-shoulder injury to southpaw Hyun-Jin Ryu, expected to be the club’s third starter, and the more recent, more severe season-ending elbow tear suffered Saturday night by No. 4 starter Brandon McCarthy, the contending Dodgers are going to have to address their rapidly eroding rotation.

And probably sooner than later, as Bill Plunkett of the Los Angeles Times puts it:

McCarthy, who signed a lucrative contract with L.A. as a free agent this past offseason, left his outing over the weekend in the sixth inning of a game the Dodgers eventually won over the San Diego Padres.

Immediately after throwing a pitch that Justin Upton hit for a home run, the tall righty began to shake his right arm and then called the club’s coaching staff and trainers out to the mound. After a brief discussion, McCarthy came out.

“I expected [McCarthy] to go on the DL [Monday], but we thought more along the lines of tendinitis than something like [a torn ulnar collateral ligament],” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said Monday in his interview with reporters. “I felt like that’s what I was going to hear, then we would have to fill [in for McCarthy] for a little bit of time and get back to it. But obviously, the news was not good.”

The expectation is that McCarthy will need to undergo Tommy John surgery, per Earl Bloom of MLB.com, which could keep him out through the first half of 2016.

Meanwhile, the NL West-leading Dodgers (12-7) are merely very early in the first half of 2015, and already a team that has won the division each of the past two years and has World Series hopes needs to be searching for pitching depth either internally or possibly via trade between now and July 31.

Oh, and the Dodgers also have to keep their fingers crossed that Kershaw and Greinke can sustain the status quo as two of the sport’s very best and most durable.

After those two, the only other pitcher projected to be a part of the rotation at the outset of the season is Brett Anderson, who might well be the most injury-prone starting pitcher in baseball in recent years.

Over the previous three seasons, the 27-year-old left-hander has made just 19 starts and thrown all of 123 innings—combined. Anderson more or less is a disabled-list stint waiting to happen, but now the Dodgers need him to be a somewhat stable third option behind the top two.

That is, at least until Ryu returns. The 28-year-old Korean lefty, who was both good and steady in his first two seasons, is making progress but very slowly as he comes back from a shoulder impingement. Ryu threw 20 pitches off a mound Sunday in his first action since being shut down in mid-March, according to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com.

As for McCarthy, it’s not like he has been the pillar of health, which is why it was surprising to many when the Dodgers inked him not only for $48 million but also for four years this winter.

The 31-year-old has pitched in parts of 10 seasons in the majors, and only last year did McCarthy finally make it past 25 starts and over 175 innings in a single one. He has been on the DL a Ferris Bueller-like nine times.

Still, the Dodgers, in all likelihood, could have been anticipating some sort of ailment or injury for McCarthy—just not one of the season-ending variety. And certainly not after just four starts.

That leaves Mattingly and, especially, president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman to scramble to find a way to make up for about, oh, 28 turns and 180 or so innings. And that’s just for McCarthy.

A peek at L.A.’s 40-man roster shows the following names as potential fill-ins, at least in the short term:

  • Scott Baker, a 33-year-old veteran who sports a 4.24 career ERA and who last made even 10 starts in 2011
  • Mike Bolsinger, who already has made one start for the Dodgers in 2015 but otherwise is 27 years old and in his third season at Triple-A
  • Zach Lee, 23, the club’s first-round pick in 2010 who is off to a strong start at Oklahoma City (1.00 ERA, 0.84 WHIP) but who has yet to debut and is considered a mid-rotation arm at best
  • Joe Wieland, a 25-year-old the Dodgers acquired along with Yasmani Grandal from the Padres in the Matt Kemp deal who has 39 career innings in the majors

There’s also Brandon Beachy, the once-promising Atlanta Braves right-hander who is trying to return from a second Tommy John surgery by this summer.

In other words: not a whole heck of a lot. Until Friedman can come up with a more stable solution, expect the above four to be on call, possibly shuttling back and forth between L.A. and OKC.

Longer term, there’s at least a possibility, it would seem, that top prospect/phenom Julio Urias could be called upon at some point.

But even if the precocious left-hander continues tearing up Double-A at age 18 (20.2 IP, 13 H, 5 ER, 26:3 K:BB), that likely wouldn’t happen until after the All-Star break. And even then, maybe only if things don’t get better for Ryu or go south once again for Anderson. Baseball America managing editor JJ Cooper offered this about Urias:

That leaves external options via trade. There will be—scratch that, there already is, per Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times—chatter and speculation about the usual suspects, like Johnny Cueto of the Cincinnati Reds, Jordan Zimmermann of the Washington Nationals or Cole Hamels of the Philadelphia Phillies. And any of those three, among others, are possible targets down the line.

But the Friedman-led front office has indicated in the past that there’s no interest in trading one of the franchise’s top two building-block prospects, shortstop Corey Seager or Urias, when both are massive talents on the verge of helping the big league club at minimal cost. Such a big-name pitcher is going to require a big-time return. Says USA Today‘s Bob Nightengale:

Could desperation in the form of a setback with Ryu or another injury to Anderson—or worse, Kershaw or Greinke—change that? Sure, but that remains to be seen.

Perhaps rather than honing in on another star starter, the Dodgers would be better served targeting one or two capable mid-rotation arms. Someone like Milwaukee Brewers right-hander Kyle Lohse, Oakland Athletics lefty Scott Kazmir or Reds righty Mike Leake, to name a few.

None of those three are sexy superstars the Dodgers have come to be associated with, but they’re all proven pitchers who would be major improvements over what L.A. currently is calling the back end of its rotation. What’s more, all three are free agents after the season, which would make them much easier gets, and that’s up Friedman’s alley.

Besides, with a one-two like Kershaw and Greinke, and with Ryu eventually as the No. 3, the Dodgers don’t need another star-caliber starter. They do, however, need innings.


Statistics are accurate through Monday, April 27, and courtesy of MLB.comBaseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs unless otherwise noted.

To talk baseball or fantasy baseball help, hit me up on Twitter: @JayCat11

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Dodgers Well Set Up to Endure an Early-Season Absence by Hyun-Jin Ryu

Suddenly, a prominent Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander is dealing with a shoulder injury that won’t be going away for a while.

But don’t worry. It’s not that prominent Dodgers lefty. For that matter, this is a situation hardly worth worrying about at all.

The lefty in question is Hyun-Jin Ryu. As reported by Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, the stiffness that the 27-year-old first felt in his left shoulder last Wednesday seemed to be cleared up by an anti-inflammatory injection, but resurfaced when he resumed throwing on Sunday.

With only two weeks now to go until Opening Day, that makes Ryu a no-go for the Dodgers’ Opening Day roster. And on the surface, it’s definitely a bad look.

This means the Dodgers are going to be without a pitcher who owns a 3.17 ERA and a 3.8 strikeout-to-walk ratio in two seasons. He’s no Clayton Kershaw, but Ryu has quietly been one of the National League‘s better left-handers.

Also, there’s the state of the Dodgers staff beyond Ryu.

Neither Brandon McCarthy nor Brett Anderson has been particularly impressive this spring, and both have had their own issues with injuries in the past. After them, the Dodgers’ top in-house options are guys like Joe Wieland, Mike Bolsinger, Carlos Frias and Zach Lee. Meanwhile, closer/cutter magician Kenley Jansen isn’t due back from foot surgery for another month or so.

So, it’s no wonder there’s been some chatter about the Dodgers possibly making a move for a starting pitcher. More specifically, Philadelphia Phillies ace left-hander Cole Hamels. Hey, it’s a possibility that even Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times couldn’t avoid addressing.

But this is as far as we’re going to go with the reactionary doom talk. Because as far as injury scares go, Ryu’s isn’t bad.

As a general rule, shoulder injuries are about as scary as your first viewing of The Exorcist. Their healing can become unpredictable, and it’s often that pitchers aren’t truly fixed even when they do heal.

But Ryu should be OK. Per Gurnick’s report, the stiffness he’s experiencing is the same stiffness that he dealt with on two occasions in 2014, and both times he only needed to be sidelined for three weeks.

If what Ryu is experiencing now is deja vu all over again, there’s a chance that a season-opening stint on the disabled list will be very short-lived. And even if he were to be sidelined for, say, the first month of the season, the Dodgers would still be in good shape.

Though the Dodgers don’t have the most impressive list of spot starter candidates, that’s OK. As Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles pointed out, the frequency of early off days means the Dodgers will only need a spot starter for three games between April 6 and May 5.

Even better, the Dodgers’ schedule in that span could be worse.

For starters, there’s the quality of the opposition. The Dodgers will play the San Diego Padres and San Francisco Giants twice apiece, with a series against the Seattle Mariners on the side. But they’ll also play nine games against the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Colorado Rockies, and another three against the Milwaukee Brewers.

Here’s how it breaks down, with projected records courtesy of Baseball Prospectus

Yes, the majority of the Dodgers’ early games will be against good teams. But the Dodgers, who are projected as a 98-win team, will hardly be out of their depth against them. Against the other three teams on their early-season schedule, they most certainly won’t be out of their depth.

And with Kershaw, Zack Greinke, McCarthy and Anderson set to take on the bulk of the pitching duty, what might help even further is that they’re ground-ball pitchers who will be going up mainly against teams that struggled against such pitchers in 2014. Per Baseball-Reference, only the Rockies and Giants did better than a .700 OPS against ground-ballers.

Lastly, there’s how most of the Dodgers’ early action will take place at home. Of the 27 games they’ll play in that April 6-May 5 span, 15 will be at Dodger Stadium. That’s a good place to be during a pitching crisis, as ESPN.com pegged it as a better park for pitchers in 2014 than all but three others.

In all, the Dodgers aren’t headed for a challenge that they can’t handle without Ryu. If he’s only gone for the first month of the season, they should be able to handle themselves.

Hence the Orange County Register‘s Bill Plunkett’s thoughts on any and all Hamels speculation:

Indeed. That would be an especially overkill-y reaction to Ryu’s bum shoulder. If they’re going to make a deal, it will likely be for an excess starter rather than an ace.

And even in that neighborhood, Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi hinted that pickings are slim.

“This is just a hard time to go out there and acquire starting pitching depth,” Zaidi told Saxon. “We’re fielding calls from teams that are asking us about our starting pitching depth, so there aren’t a lot of starting pitching sellers right now.”

All the more reason for the Dodgers to tough out Ryu’s absence with what they already have and see what happens.

And if the situation changes, so be it. If it turns out that Ryu’s injury is a lot worse than expected and a trade for a legit starter actually becomes necessary, the Dodgers will be able to open plenty of doors.

Their farm system is arguably one of the five best in baseball, and their pockets are deeper than the Krubera cave. They could easily trade for Hamels if they wanted to. And if they can trade for him, they can trade for anybody.

For now, the Ryu situation is worth monitoring. That’s the least you can say about a quality pitcher who’s dealing with a shoulder injury.

But nobody should be freaking out. The Dodgers can cover for themselves if he has to miss the early portion of the season, and they’ll be able to find someone else to cover for them if he’s out longer than that.


Note: Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference unless otherwise noted/linked.

If you want to talk baseball, hit me up on Twitter.

Follow zachrymer on Twitter

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Hyun-jin Ryu Injury: Updates on Dodgers Star’s Shoulder and Return

Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Hyun-jin Ryu will begin the 2015 season on the disabled list due to discomfort in his throwing shoulder, according to manager Don Mattingly. 

Continue for updates.

No Structural Damage Found in Ryu’s Shoulder

Tuesday, March 24

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported that no structural damage was found in Ryu’s shoulder and that the pitcher was prescribed rest to let the discomfort pass.

On March 23, Mattingly said Ryu would be sent back to Los Angeles to undergo a shoulder examination and assess the extent of the damage.

“I think he’s feeling something. If he was feeling nothing, we wouldn’t be trying to get him in front of Doc [team physician Neal ElAttrache],” Mattingly said via Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles. “We know to move forward it’s going to be a heavier workload, so we’ve got to be sure where we’re at. I saw the look on Hyun-jin’s face, and it wasn’t typical Hyun-jin.”

Ryu, who turns 28 on Wednesday, went 14-7 with a 3.38 ERA and 1.19 WHIP last season. He’s won 28 games in his first two MLB seasons and has been among the Dodgers’ most consistent fixtures in the rotation. The lefty was scheduled to be the team’s third man up in the rotation behind Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke.


Follow Tyler Conway (@tylerconway22) on Twitter.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Dodgers Set Franchise Record by Holding Opponents Hitless for 17 Innings

The Los Angeles Dodgers recently recorded 17 consecutive innings of hitless pitching, setting a team record since the franchise moved to Los Angeles, per the team’s official Twitter account.

Dodgers hurler Hyun-Jin Ryu followed up Sunday’s no-hitter from Josh Beckett by tossing seven perfect innings to begin Monday’s game against the Cincinnati Reds. The streak actually began Saturday night when Paul Maholm held the Philadelphia Phillies without a hit in the bottom of the eighth inning in an eventual 5-3 Phillies victory.

Ryu had a perfect game going through the first seven innings of Monday’s contest until Reds third baseman Todd Frazier led off the top of the eighth with a double down the third base line. Cincinnati went on to score three runs in the inning, all of which were charged to Ryu.

Reds outfielder Chris Heisey hit a sacrifice fly off of the South Korean pitcher, then reliever Brian Wilson allowed both of Ryu‘s inherited runners to score. Closer Kenley Jansen ended the threat with a four-out save in the 4-3 victory.

Prior to Frazier’s double, Maholm had allowed the last hit to a Dodgers opponent, a two-out single by Phillies outfielder Ben Revere in the seventh inning of Saturday’s game.

According to Elias Sports Bureau via ESPN, the 17 innings of hitless pitching matched the longest such streak in Major League Baseball since the Dodgers’ crosstown rivals, the Los Angeles Angels, accomplished the same feat on May 1-3, 2012. As one might expect, the Angels’ 17-inning run also included a no-hitter, one courtesy of long-time staff ace Jered Weaver.


Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Hyun-Jin Ryu Just Latest Dodger Pitcher to Head to DL with Arm Problem

Just as Clayton Kershaw is coming off the disabled list, Hyun-Jin Ryu is heading onto the disabled list with a shoulder injury. The Los Angeles Dodgers swap their No. 3 pitcher for their No. 1, but their depth has already been tested by injuries, making any further time lost a tough proposition.

Ryu is headed to the DL with what the Dodgers are calling shoulder inflammation. They have been non-specific about the severity and location, but given that the Dodgers medical staff has not asked for an MRI, they must feel that they have a good handle on it. Team sources tell me that Ryu‘s shoulder is more tender than painful and that the push to the DL was precautionary.

Ryu has no significant history of shoulder problems, going 192 innings in his first MLB campaign. Ryu showed good stamina throughout the season, though the Dodgers were very cautious with his innings, especially early in the season. 

The Dodgers cleared Ryu to start a throwing program after some progress with the inflammation, and he should have a couple throwing sessions before getting up on a mound. If all goes well, he could come off the DL sometime late next week.

The Dodgers have a current rotation of Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Dan Haren and Josh Beckett, with Paul Maholm holding the five slot. With Chad Billingsley finishing up his Tommy John rehab and Zach Lee at Triple-A Albuquerque, the Dodgers have some flexibility even with Ryu out. Beckett, Haren and Maholm are essentially pitching for their slot each time out until Ryu and Billingsley are back.

Billingsley did have a mild setback, getting some tendinitis during his rehab. That pushes his return back until mid-June at the current pace, but he is expected to slot right into the rotation when he gets back.

Ryu remains a solid middle-rotation option in fantasy and should be able to put up solid numbers. Missing a couple starts will hold his innings down around the same mark he hit last season, which is a positive. Another big positive is that Ryu hasn’t shown any loss of velocity despite the shoulder issue. Fantasy players should get him back in their rotation once he returns.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Why Los Angeles Dodgers Pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu Won’t Suffer a Sophomore Slump

Hyun-Jin Ryu emerged as one of the top rookie pitchers in the National League in 2013, serving as the Los Angeles Dodgers’ third starter for the entire season and making all but one scheduled start. 

Signed to a six-year, $36 million contract prior to the 2013 season after an impressive tenure in the Korean Baseball Organization, Ryu led all qualified NL rookies with 192 innings pitched, ranked second in wins (14), third in ERA (3.00) and fourth in strikeouts (154).

The left-hander also proved he could handle the pressure of the postseason, tossing seven scoreless innings in a win over the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 3 of the NLCS, with the Dodgers down 2-0 in the best-of-seven series.

However, as the 27-year-old embarks on his second season in the major leagues, he’ll be expected to build off his impressive rookie campaign and help the Dodgers return to the postseason.

With any player coming off an impressive rookie season, a big deal is made about his capacity for improvement in context of the dreaded sophomore slump. After a full season in the major leagues, opposing teams generally have excess scouting reports at their disposal and therefore are knowledgeable of a player’s specific tendencies in all facets of the game.

While Ryu may not post the same eye-catching numbers he did last year as a rookie, the left-hander shouldn’t fall victim to a sophomore slump in 2014.


Best Shape of His Life?

Ryu was the first to admit that he was “unprepared” entering his rookie campaign, as he spent a majority of last offseason dealing with contract negotiations before signing in early December with the Dodgers. 

This year, however, the southpaw has a better idea of what to expect in spring training, and more importantly, what it requires physically to survive a full season in the major leagues.

Speaking with Ken Gurnick of MLB.com earlier this month, Ryu stated “last year was trying with the contract, and I didn’t get a head start. I’ve had more time to prepare this year.”

“My teammates definitely push me. At the end of the day, you have to do it yourself. I just try to be in the best shape I can. I’m an athlete; it’s my job to be in the best condition,” he added.

Besides missing one start due in early September due to back stiffness, Ryu didn’t show any obvious signs of fatigue last season, such as a declining release point or dip in velocity. So if he’s actually in better shape this year as he claims—don’t expect it to show physically—the left-hander should be more prepared for the rigors of a full season.


Against Righties 

Ryu fared well against right-handed hitters last season, registering a .245 opponents’ batting average and 1.45 ground-ball rate with a 117-35 strikeout-to-walk rate in 145.1 innings. A look at the left-hander’s pitch-specific splits reveals his overall effectiveness was directly tied to his fastball and changeup usage. When Ryu was hit hard, it was usually on a curveball or slider.

Simply put: Right-handed batters feasted on Ryu’s breaking balls last season, consistently driving both pitches when they were located in the lower-two-thirds of the strike zone, and even those off the outside corner: 

The above zone profile would suggest that right-handed batters were able to recognize Ryu’s curveball and slider out of his hand, tracking the break into the strike zone and putting a good swing on the ball.

As a result, Ryu primarily used his fastball-changeup combination last season against righties. Actually, he would have struggled even more if not for the season-long effectiveness of his changeup, as he used the pitch to hold right-handed batters to a .165 batting average on the year.

Assuming that opposing hitters look for his changeup more often in 2014, Ryu has the potential to take a step forward with improved execution and sequencing of both breaking pitches. He had success last year with both offerings when working over the plate but still below the strike zone, so it’ll be interesting to see if he attacks hitters there more aggressively in the coming season.   


2014 Projections 

Now that we’ve examined a few reasons why Ryu will avoid a sophomore slump, it’s time to take a look at what the major projection models (ZIPS, Steamer and Oliver) predict for his 2014 season:  

Ryu’s BABIP and FIP suggest that the left-hander wasn’t necessarily the beneficiary of luck last season, though some of that might have been negated by his high strand rate.

The combination of Ryu’s strong command and lack of a universal swing-and-miss offering has made the left-hander adept at escaping jams. Last season he logged a total of 42 innings with runners in scoring position, holding opposing hitters to a .228 batting average in those situations while posting a strand rate of 78.2 percent.

Each of the projection models believes Ryu’s strand rate will normalize in 2014, though it shouldn’t adversely impact his ERA and FIP in the long run. They also project he’ll post strikeout and walk rates similar to the ones he did last year as a rookie (7.22 K/9, 2.30 BB/9).

The one outlier across the three models is the ZIPS projection for Ryu’s home run rate (1.18 HR/9) next season, which is considerably higher than the Oliver (0.77) and Steamer (0.72) forecasts. However, that trend seemingly is taken into consideration, as ZIPS also calls for him to post a 3.65 ERA and 3.93 FIP—his highest projected totals for each category.

If Ryu can stay healthy and the projection models prove to be mostly accurate, then the 27-year-old should be a similar pitcher to what he showed in 2013. And though his improvements might be minimal, there’s nothing to suggest Ryu is in store for a regression next season.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Copyright © 1996-2010 Kuzul. All rights reserved.
iDream theme by Templates Next | Powered by WordPress