The Los Angeles Dodgers have two of the greatest pitchers in their rotation right now. The fact that one of them plans on opting out doesn’t matter. They were good enough to carry the 18th-best run-scoring offense to the NLDS. Now, how far could they have gone if they had Hyun-jin Ryu (remember him?) in the rotation? He didn’t throw a single pitch this season. So, what can we expect from him in 2016?
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The Dodgers signed Hyun-jin Ryu in 2013 as the next big Asian pitcher, following in the footsteps of Yu Darvish. In his first season, he finished 14-8 with a 3.00 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 154 strikeouts and 49 walks over 192.0 innings. In his second, and most recent, season, he went 14-7 with a 3.38 ERA, 1.91 WHIP, 139 strikeouts and 29 walks over 152.0 innings.
He missed some time in 2014 while dealing with various injuries. He started just 26 games compared to 30 in the previous year. He did improve on his K/9 and BB/9 from 2013 to 2014, 7.22 to 8.23 and 2.30 to 1.72, respectively. Things were looking good as he and the Dodgers were preparing for the 2015 season.
While there was optimism surrounding Hyun-jin Ryu, he was shut down early with back tightness. When he was back on the mound, he began experiencing shoulder soreness, and was shut down again. He began the regular season on the DL, and was placed on the 60-day DL on May 4. Continuing down the negative path, his velocity was down, which ended his rehab. Ryu decided to have surgery on the shoulder, which revealed he needed his left shoulder labrum needed to be repaired. This effectively ended his 2015 season.
The most recent update was that Hyun-jin Ryu began a throwing program on Oct. 6. If everything goes according to plan, he should be ready by Spring Training next year. However, a rotation spot is not guaranteed. He will have to compete with Brett Anderson, Alex Wood and Mike Bolsinger.
I do think the Dodgers will be better off with Ryu as the No. 3 starter, if Zack Greinke decided to stay with Los Angeles. He could be a decent No. 2 starter, but the back-end of the Dodgers’ rotation would struggle just as much as it did this season.
Hyun-jin Ryu was a 15th-round pick in ESPN leagues, 39th starting pitcher drafted. That was a good round to draft him, but still high enough that the fact he didn’t play might have hurt your team in the early going. As you prepare for next year, I think he should be drafted between Round 20-22 as an SP4.
Projections: 13-5, 3.50 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 165.1 IP, 144 Ks, 35 BB