The Dodgers acquired Hyun-jin Ryu back in 2013 and he’s always been a solid pitcher. The Korean southpaw was highly respected in his native country and the old administration saw the value in him. The Dodgers signed him and paid him a little over 3 million dollars in his first campaign. The move immediately paid dividends for the Dodgers as Ryu posted a 3.00 ERA and a 14-8 record while striking out 154 over 192 innings pitched in his first season as a Dodger. The next year Ryu posted similar numbers but threw just 152 frames.
Over the next two years injuries derailed Ryu’s career significantly and he didn’t get back on the mound consistently until 2017. He was good that year and then posted a 1.97 ERA over 82.1 innings in 2018 before a severely torn groin cut his season short. Ryu has always been a good pitcher but he’s never been a great pitcher, well until now.
Before the 2019 season the Dodgers extended a 17.9 million dollar qualifying offer to Ryu, which he happily accepted. It made sense for both sides. Ryu has always loved pitching for the Dodgers and the Dodgers have loved Ryu’s pitching. But there were concerns about Ryu’s health. Would Ryu hold up over a full season? Would he prove that he was worth the 17.9 million dollars that the Dodgers gave him this past winter?
So far he’s earned that and then some. The 32-year old is having a career year this season and I think it’s very possible if he keeps it up, remains healthy that he could win the National League Cy Young award. He already is the best pitcher in the National League right now.
The Dodgers defeated the Arizona Dbacks 9-0 on Tuesday night and Ryu tossed another seven scoreless innings. He may have only struck out two but he didn’t walk anyone, allowed only three hits and induced 17 ground ball outs during the Dodger’s pounding of the snakes.
Apparently Ryu discovered a higher release point sometime last year and it’s helping him dominate opposing hitters. He’s exhibiting impeccable control and poise on the mound like we’ve never seen before. As of right now, Ryu has a 9-1 record and a MLB leading 1.35 ERA. He’s allowed just 12 earned runs this year across 80 innings. That included a complete game four-hit shutout over the Braves back on May 7. Take a look at his pitching lines this season.
Ryu has not allowed more than two earned runs in any of his starts so far this year. His peripherals are incredible. He’s struck out 71 and walked only 5 all season. Coming into Tuesday’s game he was allowing just 6.7 hits per nine and was striking out 8.5 per nine. This also includes an unbelievable 13.8 strikeout to walk ratio. He has a Whip of 0.8 and he’s limited opposing hitters to a miniscule .083 batting average against with runners in scoring position. He has a 1.01 ERA at Dodger Stadium.
The Dodger’s starting pitching has been fantastic in 2019 and Ryu is a big part of that. Right now Ryu isn’t just the ace of the Dodger staff, he’s the best pitcher in baseball. If things continue going so well for him than he could very well take home the Cy Young award at the end of the season. Wouldn’t that be cool?