The “Korean Monster” Ryu Hyun-jin (Toronto Blue Jays) may be years away from striking gold. He’s pitched so well after his second Tommy John surgery that he’ll be a hot commodity in free agency after this season. In just seven games, he has proven his worth.
MLB.com included Ryu in its list of nine prospective free agents to watch in 2023 on Monday.
Ryu was listed alongside Cody Bellinger (Chicago Cubs outfielder), Matt Chapman (Toronto third baseman), Lucas Giolito (Cleveland Indians starting pitcher), Teoscar Hernandez (Seattle Mariners outfielder), Aaron Nola (Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher), Eduardo Rodriguez (Detroit Tigers starting pitcher), Luis Severino (New York Yankees starting pitcher), and Blake Snell (San Diego Padres starting pitcher) as key free agents.
MLB.com said in its article, “Typically, it takes a pitcher some time to return from Tommy John surgery and get back on track. But that wasn’t the case for Ryu Hyun-jin. The left-hander has pitched 34 innings in seven starts since coming off the disabled list, posting a dazzling 2.65 ERA and 1.06 WHIP (walks allowed per inning). He fills a void in Toronto’s five-man rotation after Alec Manoa was sent down to the minors.”
Ryu completed his comeback on May 2 against the Baltimore Orioles, allowing four runs on nine hits in five innings. While he was fortunate to make it through five innings without experiencing a flare-up of pain, there were some concerns about his pitching.
Ryu quickly erased those doubts in his next start, a four-inning no-hitter in Cleveland on August 8. He took a hard hit to the knee and had to leave the game with a bruise, but he quickly shook it off and has been working his way through the rotation ever since.
He had a three-game winning streak from Aug. 14 against the Chicago Cubs to Aug. 27 against Cleveland. He went five innings in all of them, except for the one against Cleveland on Aug. 8, when he was pulled due to injury. He continues to pitch without the effects of a year and two months off.
Now Toronto fans want to see more of Ryu. On July 7 against the Oakland Athletics, Ryu was pulled in the sixth inning with the score 1-2 after giving up two runs in five innings. However, the second pitcher, Trevor Richards, gave up back-to-back singles followed by a three-run homer to make the score 5-1. The Toronto offense was unable to overcome the four runs and the streak ended.
Toronto fans were unhappy with the bench’s decision to pull Ryu in the sixth inning. It shows how much faith they have in Ryu. It’s not that Ryu can’t pitch six innings. It’s just that Toronto is using him earlier to protect him. Manager John Schneider explained that Ryu made the change at 77 pitches because it was his first start on four days’ rest after completing his rehabilitation.메이저사이트
As Ryu’s steady pitching continues, it will have an impact on his free agent market. According to MLB.com, “At 36 years old, Ryu probably won’t get a big contract like the four-year, $80 million deal he earned in his last free agency. But if he continues to perform like this, he could land a lucrative multi-year deal that seemed impossible a month ago.”