Dodgers Roster: Will Hyun-Jin Ryu Make Another Positive Impact in 2018?

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Long before the 2018 starting rotation picture began to sort itself out, many folks close to the Dodgers believed that Hyun-Jin Ryu was embarking upon a potentially career-best season, just in time for him to successfully test the free agent market during the coming winter months. Through the end of April of this year, the 31-year-old southpaw had posted a 3-0 record with a 2.12 ERA, a 0.867 WHIP and an outrageous 10.9 K/9, at least by his own standards. Before the emergence of Ross Stripling, and with staff ace Clayton Kershaw fighting off several different ailments, Ryu was leading the charge of the entire Los Angeles pitching staff.

However, as fate would have it, he suffered a serious left groin injury to the point where muscle was nearly torn completely off his bone. Upon hearing the initial diagnosis, many believed his chances of returning later in the season were slim to none. Nevertheless, he was eventually moved to the 60-day DL and the earliest guesstimates gave him a chance of returning sometime after the 2018 All-Star break.

Ryu would work hard and persevere, finally building himself up to the point where he was ready for rehab work. Last Friday, he made a start at High-A Rancho Cucamonga, where he threw four scoreless innings, proving that his return to the bigs this year was becoming close to a reality. Then, after shifting venues from Double-A Tulsa to Triple-A Oklahoma City at the last minute, he started the game at Reno on Tuesday evening, where he tossed 71 pitches and completed five full innings, allowing five hits and no walks while striking out three opposing batters.

Conceivably, after logging those five full innings, his return to the bigs could happen with his next appearance; however, one would think that he may be scheduled for another minor league outing just to be on the safe side. Lefty Alex Wood was recently placed on the 10-day DL with groin problems, but the club plans to move Stripling back into the rotation to fill the temporary void. Still, it wouldn’t be surprising if a few other members of the staff spend quick stints on the disabled list sometime soon for resting purposes, allowing Ryu to move into the rotation, at least temporarily.

The Dodgers bullpen, which theoretically needs a little help during its current restructuring phase, could probably use the services of Ryu; but in the past, the lefty has had problems with such a role, mainly because of the extensive amount of time it takes him to get loose and warm up in a relief capacity.

If he does see a bit of starting action and perform well enough down the stretch run, though, it could boost his free agent value during the offseason. It remains to be seen if the Dodgers will offer the lefty any type of deal, but the chances could be slim based on the amount of controllable starting rotation depth in the Los Angeles system right now.

Regardless, if he’s somehow able to rediscover the groove he was in during the early portion of 2018, there could be at least a small possibilty that Ryu cements himself into the rotation for the remainder of the year.

 

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14 thoughts on “Dodgers Roster: Will Hyun-Jin Ryu Make Another Positive Impact in 2018?

  1. I guess I’m in the minority but I believe 100% in the hefty lefty. He had rediscovered himself as a pitcher before he got hurt, finally using his nasty changeup and curveball more to set up his fastball rather than the other way around. Ryu deserves the oppurtunity to reclaim his rotation spot and I think once get gets that chance he won’t reliquish it.

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    1. According to Dave Roberts, Hyun-Jin really likes to gamble. Too bad he can’t make a lucrative career playing for the Reno Aces or Las Vegas 51s. On second thought, maybe he could, if he’s indeed as adept on the poker tables like everybody says.

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      1. I can’t say much I love the blackjack and poker tables too. More power to him if he can do it responsibly.

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  2. I agree with you Alex. Ryu has been a very good starter for us for the time during his contract when he wasn’t injured. Unfortunately time out for injuries has taken up a lot of the contract. I think he could be a big asset during the playoffs but agree with Dennis’ point that he seems to do much better as a starter than in relief. I don’t see any way that the Dodgers re-sign Ryu after this year (too many other in-house possibilities) but I hope we’ll be able to get one last good stretch from him in September and the playoffs. The Angels would be smart to go after him this off season. Seems like most of their starters are hurt and Ryu might like the idea of staying in SoCal.

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    1. Alex Wood is throwing a sim game on the field in Oakland. May the starting rotation “rotation” begin. I wonder what kind of reaction there will be when they send Kersh to the DL for his short break.

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  3. “Still, it wouldn’t be surprising if a few other members of the staff spend quick stints on the disabled list sometime soon for resting purposes”

    Revolving DL door? Jacuzzi time?

    Predictable and in fact predicted.

    This is a staff I believe is built for a 6 man rotation and if not used directly will be used indirectly through manipulation of the DL. 5 innings. 6 at most. 15-18 outs, 90 pitches max. Throw strikes and let the chips fall where they may. Ryu, Urias, Ferguson, a September call up against the Padres, stretch it out and our 3 best will be ready for the playoffs.

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      1. Kershaw, Hill then Kershaw again.

        Actually it’s Beuhler, but who knows who it will be by late September. Keep Wood well rested and it could be him. Same could be said for Maeda. Ryu was pitching great before he went down, might be him. I like all of them if healthy.

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      2. Buehler could very well be the second-best pitcher on the entire staff in terms of talent, but whether he’s capable of delivering a brilliant gem in the postseason this year is anybody’s guess.

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      3. Kershaw-Hill-Kershaw reminds me of that old Braves expression “Spahn and Sain and three days of rain”, except it’s hard to find anything relevant that rhymes with Kershaw. That said, I’m counting on you to come up with something Scoop.

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  4. I think it’s one year too early to count on Buehler taking a playoff rotation spot. He could force his way there by throwing lights out the rest of the way but right now if I had to choose I would want Kershaw, Maeda, Hill and Ryu with Wood moved to the 8th inning bridge to Kenley.

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    1. If the Dodgers do indeed make the playoffs, then Friedman and his crew will plug all the information into his patented spreadsheets, all based upon the opponent they will be facing. At that point the rotation will be determined.

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  5. Dodgers should really let Ryu complete his next two rehab starts before bringing him back to the parent club. Rushing players coming off the DL never did them any good based on past experience. No sense repeating history there. And contrary to “popular” opinion around here, I’d rather see Buehler starting in the postseason. Doesn’t matter if he’s a rookie, he just has that championship pedigree about him and his stuff will indeed play up when that time finally comes.

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  6. 2 pitchers I was counting on this year, Buehler and Urias, are on inning and pitch counts. I doubt either are being counted on for the playoffs, but I don’t know that.

    Kershaw, Hill, Maeda. Buehler, Wood, Stripling, Ryu, Urias, Ferguson, heck even Brock Stewart is being activated. In my foggy head this collection has 6 man rotation written all over it. Is it feasible to keep arms fresh by rotating these guys selectively, pitching only 5-6 innings, throwing only 75-90 pitches, from now until 10-1 then allowing the computers to choose the 3 to be used to win in the playoffs?

    Iontkno.

    There are by my count 14 more arms in the bullpen. The organization calls this depth, I call it an infirmary wing, or maybe more accurately a wing infirmary. Who knows how many of them will be able to help from now until November.

    If the blind squirrel offense hits, we can score with anybody. If they don’t, and they often don’t, we are going to need this platoon of wounded flingers to rally.

    That’s my plan. Am I fired?

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