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Dodgers: Hyun-Jin Ryu Snubbed in Comeback Player of the Year Award

Ryu might have been the biggest rising story this season.

Dodgers
ANAHEIM, CA - JUNE 10: Hyun-Jin Ryu #99 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches during the MLB game between Los Angeles Angels and Los Angeles Dodgers at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on June 10, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Masterpress/Getty Images)

Sporting News has announced their variation of the NL Comeback Player of the Year Award and the winner is not Hyun-Jin Ryu. Instead, the 2019 winner from the National League is Atlanta Braves third baseman and impending free agent Josh Donaldson.

Josh Donaldson

Hyun-Jin Ryu was in the running for this award, but Donaldson has claimed it. In 2018, Donaldson played in just 52 games — approximately one third of the MLB season — and slashed .246/.352/.449 with the Toronto Blue Jays and Cleveland Indians. Signed by the Braves to a one-year, $23 million deal in the off-season, Donaldson put up some pretty good numbers in 2019: .259/.379/.521 and 4.9 WAR in 155 games played. It was certainly a good comeback, but was it better than that of Hyun-Jin Ryu’s with his fair share of 2018 injuries?

Hyun-Jin Ryu

Ryu, 32, had the best season of his career in 2019, posting a 2.32 ERA across 182 2/3 innings of work over 29 starts. By himself, he was worth 4.8 WAR, a point less than Josh Donaldson. In 2018, Ryu was also phenomenal, but his season was cut short by a gruesome injury to his groin that featured his muscle tearing completely off of the bone. Not only was this Ryu’s best season, in context, it was an even victory for Ryu considering he had never thrown more than 152 innings in a season since his rookie year in 2013. He overcame injuries just as severe as Donaldson and had a better season. It sounds to me like Babe Ryuth got snubbed.

Overall

While I might seem somewhat bitter about Donaldson’s selection over Ryu, I’m not. Donaldson is a very deserving candidate, but it definitely seems like Ryu got the cold shoulder. At the end of the day, it is understandable considering that Ryu actually had a great season in 2018, albeit a half-season. When we look at what the Comeback Player of the Year should epitomize, it is Ryu. However, it is also Donaldson, too. Sporting News just seemed to believe that the Bringer of Rain deserved it more than Hyun-Jin Ryu. They can’t be blamed as both players are excellent in their own right.

Written by Daniel Preciado

My name is Daniel Preciado and I am 18 years old. I am a sophomore Sport Analytics major and Cognitive Science and Economics dual minor at Syracuse University. When I am not in New York, I live in Whittier, California --- not too far from Chavez Ravine. I am pretty old-school for being an analytics guy and I will always embrace debate. Also, Chase Utley did absolutely nothing wrong.

2 Comments

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  1. A pointless. “who cares?” award. I guarantee the player who wins it could care less. I like Ryu but the Dodgers’ success or failure won’t ever be reliant solely on his arm. He averages only about 14 starts per season when he should be making 25-30 starts.

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