One of the biggest storylines for the Dodgers this off-season has been the impending free agency of Hyun-Jin Ryu. Ryu had a stellar 2019 campaign with a 2.32 ERA, 163 strikeouts, and 1.01 WHIP en route to being named a Cy Young finalist, possibly setting him up for a big payday this winter.
On MLB Network’s MLB Tonight, the crew broke down some of the top starters on the market, starting with Ryu.
They mentioned Ryu’s dominant first half of the season where he posted a 1.73 ERA and started the All-Star game before going into his injury history.
“When you have a guy that has had a history of injury he has. In ‘16 an elbow injury, had shoulder surgery in ‘15. How do you value this guy?” MLB Network analyst Al Leiter said.
However, he credits Ryu for re-inventing himself in 2019 and praises the left-hander’s consistency, outside of that four-game stretch from Aug. 17 to Sept. 4 where he had a 9.95 ERA.
Leiter cites Ryu’s “exceptional plus-stuff,” highlighting his changeup as a weapon that makes him stand out. Ryu threw more changeups than fastballs in 2019, something that Leiter noted will help Ryu as he approaches 33 and continues to age similarly to how it helped Rich Hill.
“How and where he fits? I think it’s a product of will he stay healthy,” Leiter said. “Can I get him to give me 28-32 starts a year? Because what he did for the most part all year long, outside of four starts … he was one of the elite pitchers in the league.”
The crew also raised concerns about Ryu’s delivery, mainly his finish which Leiter described as “not great.”
Overall, Ryu had an excellent season and would be great to keep around the Dodgers clubhouse, but it all comes down to what his market will command.