Yesterday, left-handed pitcher Hyun-jin Ryu made a significant step towards a full recovery by being able to throw his great change-up rather than only a fastball. Today, it was learned that Ryu still is unlikely to be ready for the start of the Dodgers’ 2016 season, but that isn’t exactly shocking news.
A few days ago, it was learned that Ryu was about two weeks behind the other pitchers, so this new news is nothing out of the ordinary. Ryu is still on track to pitch this season, and he’s still on track to pitch probably in late April or early May. This is just inevitable on the road to recovery.
From the official Twitter account of Andy McCullough (@McCulloughTimes) of the Los Angeles Times:
Dave Roberts states the obvious: It's unlikely Hyun-Jin Ryu will be ready when the season starts.
— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughTimes) February 27, 2016
Ryu missed all of 2015, as we all know, due to shoulder surgery, but he’s on pace to come back in 2016 and throw a considerable amount of innings. If he’s able to produce even mediocre numbers, he’ll help the team in more ways than people could actually realize. Ryu still has number two or number three starter potential.
According to PECOTA, Ryu is projected to throw 168 innings in 2016, which does seem like a lot more than the team would actually allow him to throw. They also have him pegged for a 3.29 ERA and 8.1 strikeouts-per-nine. In his last full season, which was 2014, Ryu pitched 152 innings, and finished with a 3.38 ERA and 8.2 strikeouts-per-nine. So it’d basically be a mirror image season for him.
That’s not to say that he’ll be the same after returning from such a big time injury, but the talent and production from the past are still there for the Dodgers, and Ryu, to draw comparisons from. Getting him back to full health could be the team’s biggest task all season long as he’ll be a vital component to their success.