Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Hyun-jin Ryu is coming off of shoulder surgery that kept him out of the entire 2015 season, so he’s trying to make a recovery from that and get back out on the mound to help the team attain their goal of becoming world champions. Well, he’s progressing on that front.
His first few bullpen sessions during Spring Training have involved him throwing nothing but fastballs, however today he was able to finally add a new pitch to his session: a change-up. Because of that, it indicates that Ryu is slowly starting to come along and progress at a really good rate.
From Ken Gurnick (@kengurnick), Los Angeles Dodgers beat reporter for MLB.com:
Hyun-Jin Ryu added change-ups to his bullpen session today, no breaking balls.
— Ken Gurnick (@kengurnick) February 26, 2016
While Ryu is still not throwing breaking balls yet, you have to at least love the fact that he’s no longer throwing just fastballs. He’s now able to change speeds a little bit so that his arm starts to grow in strength. Being able to throw a diversity of pitches on the road to a full recovery is a big deal.
According to Brooks Baseball, which is an awesome site that everyone should visit, Ryu has thrown 1201 change-ups in his big league career. It’s the second most frequent pitch that he throws, behind his fastball of course. The third and fourth most frequent pitches are his slider and curve, respectively.
This is the unique thing, though. Ryu has drawn a 16.82% whiff rate on his change-up throughout his career, which means that nearly 17 percent of the time a batter swings at his change-up, they wind up missing it altogether. That’s a pretty darn good rate. It’s his most whiffable pitch.
Hopefully Ryu is able to stay on this track towards a full recovery. The Dodgers will need him in 2016, even if it’s just for about 100 innings or so. Every inning matters, but the team at least has the depth to allow him to take his time. We’ll have more updates on Ryu as they come in.