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Monday, March 1, 2021

2021 FANTASY BASEBALL DRAFT BUST: HYUN-JIN RYU SP TORONTO BLUE JAYS

 First some statistical nuances to digest on before proceeding further.  The first is that Toronto Blue Jays veteran starter Hyun-Jin Ryu is second in all of baseball in ERA-plus going back to 2018 behind the New York Mets' Jacob DeGrom.  Of course, a second statistic here is that Ryu threw 157 fewer innings than DeGrom so that needs to be taken into account when viewing the Blue Jays veteran through this lens.  The fact of the matter is though is that when he is heathy, Ryu has been a very good pitcher who has straddled the SP 1/2 line.  The flip side though is that Ryu is seemingly always hurt and in only 3 of his 8 seasons has he qualified for the ERA title.  That being said, Ryu has logged splendid ERA's of 2.69, 2.32, and 1.97 the last three seasons and he will be entrusted to work at the front of a Jays rotation that has a bunch of reclamation projects behind him in Steven Matz, Tyler Chatwood, and Robbie Ray.

Digging in on Ryu a bit more, he spent the first 7 seasons of his career in Los Angeles with the Dodgers and he took advantage of the pitching-leanings of their ballpark to really put himself on the map as a terrific pitcher who has a four-pitch arsenal.  Despite a fastball that generally averages just 90-91 throughout his career, Ryu gets great movement on his secondary offerings and is around 50 percent with a ground ball rate which is what you want to see from someone pitching in Toronto.  Given that Ryu keeps the ball on the ground at such a lofty rate, the home run haven that is Rogers Center is minimized a bit.  However Ryu still has to deal with a very rough AL East for a full season (and not the shortened variety such as 2020) and the fact he won't be facing opposing pitchers as of this writing is also another knock.  The biggest problem though are the injuries and Ryu is one of those guys who is almost guaranteed to hit the IL at least once and for an extended stay.  Given that the cost has risen on Ryu's ADP the last few seasons, it makes him one that is very risky.  Add in a K/9 rate that has only gone above 8.5 twice in his 8 MLB campaigns and Ryu is a bottom line guy who needs the innings to justify his cost.  If Ryu were in the NL we would be more likely to take a stab here but in the AL not so much.


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