Hyun-Jin Ryu Is Developing a Slider, Apparently

Just imagine what it would be like to face Dodgers‘ southpaw Hyun-Jin Ryu if he added a slider to his already wicked arsenal of pitches.

The vision may soon be a reality.

Ken Gurnick reported today that Ryu has been tinkering with a slider, according to skipper Dave Roberts.

As we all know, Ryu has a propensity for learning new pitches quickly. As part of his comeback in 2017, he introduced his cutter to the league mainstream, which led him to his most a fantastic campaign in 2018 in terms of ERA and FIP, despite missing a good portion of the year due to a nasty groin strain. More importantly, the emergence of the cutter allowed him to use his four-seam as a setup pitch rather than his out pitch.

And, believe it or not, the 31-year-old lefty introduced a sinker last year, although he used it sparingly. When he did throw the sinker, it often lacked solid command; however, it’s yet another weapon he can pull out of his bag of tricks when he needs to.

Consequently, we all know how deadly his change and curve ball can be. These are the pitches that allow Ryu to bring home a decent MLB paycheck.

Ryu’s curveball now has more vertical drop than it’s ever had in his career—almost four inches more drop than it had during his limited action in 2017 and about four-and-a-half more inches of drop than the typical MLB curveball. So, not only is he controlling it better, it’s also breaking more than ever.

What’s more, Ryu’s changeup has been his most effective strikeout pitch, generating a 23% whiff rate and 55% chase rate in 2018. If he can find decent command with his sinker and slider while continuing to use his 91 MPH four-seam as a key setup offering, his ceiling will be amazingly high—if he’s able to stay healthy.

Last November, he accepted the club’s $17.9 million qualifying offer, which may turn out to be one of the offseason’s biggest bargains—again, if he remains durable.

During the 2018 regular season, Ryu made 15 starts and posted a 9-7 record, leading the entire club with a 1.97 ERA. He was instrumental in holding the staff together for the first few weeks of the season after the rotation suffered numerous injuries. Consequently, he made a brilliant comeback after the groin injury in late April. In the 2018 postseason, Ryu made four starts and threw an even 19 innings. His best start of the playoffs came in the NLDS against the Braves when he tossed seven shutout innings, striking out eight while surrendering just four hits and no walks.

After recording double-digit wins in each of his first two seasons, Ryu had shoulder surgery and missed his entire 2015 campaign, returning late in 2016 only to re-aggravate his shoulder problems. He made 24 starts in 2017, tallying a not-so-impressive 5-9 record with a 3.77 ERA. However, if he performs close to the peripheral numbers he put up in 2018, he could be one of the leaders of an already very talented staff.

 

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Dodgers 2019 Roster: A Few Random Thoughts on Starting Rotation Depth

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For the first time in a number of years, the starting rotation of the Dodgers appears to be set even before pitchers and catchers return to the clubhouse at Camelback Ranch.

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Roberts Says Maeda Will Begin Next Season in Starting Rotation, Not Bullpen

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The Los Angeles Dodgers have a deep roster, which is great, but it can certainly make some players unsure of what their role is going to be as the seasons progress.

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Dodgers Showing Interest in Lefty Pitcher Yusei Kikuchi

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According to the Japan Times, southpaw pitcher Yusei Kikuchi will be posted during the upcoming week, allowing all 30 MLB clubs to bid for the services of the 27-year-old. And, even though the Dodgers are as stacked as they come with lefty starting pitching, they’re among the many squads to be interested in bidding.

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Compared to Last Year, the Dodgers’ 2018 Rotation Is Better Suited for Playoffs

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(Photo Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY Sports)

Even with nine games remaining on the regular season schedule, the Dodgers still have plenty of work to do before they begin preparing for any type of playoff appearance. Still, the club is experiencing success in just about all aspects of play right now, but lately, it’s been the starting pitching that’s been the most effective and dominant.

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Dodgers Roster: Ranking the Arms in the Starting Rotation

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(Mandatory credit: Orlando Ramirez/USA TODAY Sports)

Considering all the obstacles the Dodgers have faced over the course of the 2018 season, starting pitching has not been one of them. Sure, there have been quite a few injuries, but each hurdle prompted somebody new to step into the group and perform admirably. Heck, even young righty Brock Stewart deserves some kudos for the hundreds of thousands of frequent-flyer miles he racked up before the All-Star break.

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Dodgers Offense Will Need to Carry Depleted Pitching Staff

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The Dodgers are facing a tough road to make it back to the World Series. With the loss of Kenley Jansen, a starting rotation not always looking as sharp as they could be (see Clayton Kershaw, Kenta Maeda), and very close divisional race, the next few months are going to be interesting indeed.

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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.

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The Current State of the Dodgers Starting Rotation

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Although it’s been awhile since we’ve taken a look at the starting rotation of the Dodgers as a whole, the unit is far and away the best on the Senior Circuit with a 3.31 ERA, if you’re into that sort of stat. Even in terms of WHIP and OBPA, Dodgers starters still comfortably lead the NL pack. If we look at how good the Los Angeles rotation is on a broader scale, there are certainly several groups in the American League which may be better, but that’s something the club can consider later in the season, if the team is indeed able to clinch a spot in the postseason.

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Dodgers 25-Man Roster: Trying to Optimize the Starting Rotation

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Seemingly, the starting rotation of the Dodgers continues to get healthier. Many fans of the team were curious to know how management would handle an overcrowded starting five, and they got their answer when Rich Hill was relegated to the bullpen just days before the All-Star break. Now, with the rotation appearing to be at full strength, followers are contemplating whether or not there’s enough firepower to make some noise in the playoffs.

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