The Los Angeles Dodgers may or may not have been surprised that Hyun-Jin Ryu accepted their $17.9M qualifying offer this past offseason. His injury-plagued history didn’t bode well in the free agent market, but in his performances when healthy he has shown himself to be a quality starter. Whether or not to test free agency hinged on what would be looked at in great detail. Fortunately for the Dodgers and Ryu, he accepted the offer.
Ryu has not only increased his free agent value for next year, but he has surprised everyone with his Cy Young-esque first half and the Dodgers ROI could not have been foreseen.
While Ryu has always been good, fans have only seen him in small sample size. Since his 2013 rookie season in which he finished with a 14-8 record and a solid 3.00 ERA, he has been plagued by injuries. Parts of his 2014 season, all of 2015, like 99.9% of 2016, and again significant parts of 2017 & 2018 were all marred by injuries. The tail end of 2018 however, was just a preview of what Ryu has brought in 2019.
I know it's a thing that Kershaw didn't start Game 1, but good god is it cool that after a billion injuries, including 1 game in 2015-16 and literally ripping his groin muscle off 3 months ago, that Hyun-jin Ryu is straight dealing tonight. It is so cool.
— Mike Petriello (@mike_petriello) October 5, 2018
In 2019, Hyun-Jin Ryu owns a team best 10-2 record, a Major League leading 1.73 ERA, and a National League 4th best pitching WAR of 3.7. Additionally, he leads the NL in WHIP (.908), BB/9 (.826), and K/BB (9.90). His surprising first half dominance culminated in his first ever All-Star nod and was subsequently chosen to be the National League’s starter for the All-Star game.
In his last 32 regular-season starts, Hyun-Jin Ryu is 17-5 with a 1.83 ERA, 0.951 WHIP, 25 walks and 188 strikeouts in 191.1 innings.
— Houston Mitchell (@latimeshouston) July 11, 2019
In an era of baseball where power and launch angle reigns supreme, Hyun-Jin Ryu has surprised the baseball world by dominating it with finesse. Like Greg Maddux dominating the in the steroid era, Ryu is doing the same with these “not juiced” baseballs. He has been the Dodgers most consistent pitcher and like Clayton Kershaw in the past, fans can seemingly count on a Dodgers win whenever he’s on the mound.
Hyun-Jin Ryu is going to start the All Star Game. (I don't know if he really will, but he'll have earned it.) What an incredible story given how many injuries he's had and how softly he throws.
— Mike Petriello (@mike_petriello) June 17, 2019
With Rich Hill on the injured list indefinitely, the Dodgers will rely even more on Ryu’s consistency here in the second half.