Thursday, August 8, 2013

Hyun-Jin Ryu: Rookie of the Year?

Quiet as kept, Hyun-Jin Ryu has injected himself into the National League Rookie of the Year debate. I know Yasiel Puig has gotten the lion's share of attention as a rookie but the Dodgers' other lefty pitching phenom deserves to get praise as well.

Ryu (11-3) shut down the Cardinals Thursday with another brilliant outing (7 IP, 5 Hits, 0 earned runs for his fourth straight win) as he pitched with no fear of one of the best teams in the majors. He came at St. Louis' hitters like a veteran and when I thought he was done after 6 innings, he went out and pitched the 7th to finish off his night and relieve the bullpen a bit.

Earlier this month, Don Mattingly tried to drum up support for Ryu as Rookie of the Year and I'm doing the same now. Let's spell out his case.

He's tied for the NL rookie lead in wins (11), leads NL rookies in innings pitched and is fourth in strikeouts and ERA (2.99). He's 2nd in the NL overall in winning percentage. He's struggled on the road this year but he's won his last three road starts during this road hot streak. He's been a great No. 2 behind Clayton Kershaw and so far, he's adjusted better to the MLB than anybody expected.

Add to that that Ryu is the first Dodger rookie pitcher to win more than 10 games since Kaz Ishii in 2002. The Dodgers haven't lost a start of his since June 19. Even though he's struggled getting to the 6th inning at times, I feel like he's starting to get more confident in trusting his stuff as he continues to adjust to hitters this late in the season.

He's been electric for the fan base and for me, I watch him and get reminded of how exciting it was to see Hideo Nomo's rookie year. He's not as electric as Nomo but he's just as reliable and with the burden that's been placed on him, Ryu has lived up to the hype this year.

Marlins' starter Jose Fernandez leads all NL rookies in strikeouts and ERA. Puig has the excitement factor and ability to make big plays every night. But Ryu deserves to be in the conversation at the NL's top rookie. The 2nd best pitcher on one of the best staffs in the majors and as much attention as Puig has rightfully deserved, Ryu deserves just the same for his stellar play.


  1. Wow! Didn't realize this cat was having such a great year. I would say he needs to be the convo, but Puig is a runaway for ROY. As always, always work Evan.

    1. Thanks bro. And like I said, I'd definitely keep voting for Puig at this point but if Ryu keeps this up, I could see folks splitting the votes.