Its’ been quite a year for Los Angeles Dodgers starter Hyun-Jin Ryu who enjoyed great success in his first season in the big leagues. Signed to a six-year, $36 million contract last winter, not many knew what the Dodgers were getting in the 26-year-old left-hander from South Korea.
Ryu was primarily the Dodgers number three starter and went 14-8 with a 3.00 ERA, logging 192 innings and showed stellar command with a 3.14 K/BB rate. During his first off-season, Ryu has been back home and was welcomed with open arms, shooting several commercials and going to charity events.
According to YonhapNews.co.kr, Ryu was named South Korea’s top athlete for 2013:
After enjoying a strong rookie season, the Los Angeles Dodgers’ pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin was selected as the top South Korean athlete of 2013, a national survey showed Monday. Ryu, the left-handed starter for the Major League Baseball (MLB) club, earned 51.4 percent of support in a poll conducted by Gallup Korea. The pollster surveyed 1,702 South Koreans aged 13 or older from Nov. 1 to 18. The voters could select up to two athletes.
Heading into the 2014 season, Ryu is still locked in as the number three starter in the rotation, but expectations are sure to be higher. It was tough to know what to expect just from YouTube videos, but the Dodgers hit another home run with an international signing.
Ryu was also beloved in the clubhouse as he was seen playing dominos with third baseman Juan Uribe prior to games and seemed to enjoy his first season with the Dodgers. While he struggled in one of his two postseason starts, Ryu should take the next step forward in 2014 and provide more support to the back end of the rotation.
Here are some of the aforementioned commercials Ryu has been shooting while back home: