According to the MLB Network, not only do the Toronto Blue Jays have one of the top 10 second basemen in baseball with Cavan Biggio, they also have a top 10 starting pitcher. In fact, a top five starter at that.
MLB Network released its list of the best starting pitchers in the game during their “Top 10 Starting Pitchers Right Now” countdown. One of the newest Blue Jays on the roster — Hyun-Jin Ryu — found himself among some impressive company.
The 32-year-old veteran was ranked fifth among all starting pitchers in MLB heading into the 2020 campaign.
— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) February 2, 2020
“The Shredder” factors in the previous two years as a sample size, along with statistics like ERA+, FIP and RA9 WAR. Ryu had baseball’s best ERA+ in 2019, he ranked 6th in FIP and 5th in RA9-WAR.
Ryu also led baseball with a 2.32 ERA and posted the lowest walk rate per nine innings, surrendering only 1.2 walks per nine. Had it not been for a disastrous month of August for Ryu (with a 7.48 ERA in four starts), he could’ve taken home some hardware at the end of the year.
The lefty finished second in National League Cy Young voting behind Jacob deGrom of the New York Mets, who finished at the top of MLB Network’s “Top 10 Starting Pitchers Right Now” list.
Former starting pitcher and current MLB Network analyst Ron Darling heaped praise on Ryu for being a “crafty lefty” in a sea among hard-throwing right-handed pitchers in baseball.
“He is a guy that has perfected his craft,” Darling said. “When he’s out there, he has the ability to add and subtract as well as anyone in the game.”
Ryu’s former teammate with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Clayton Kershaw, was bounced from the top 10 for the first time in his career. He enjoyed a four-year run as the top pitcher on MLB Network’s list before Max Scherzer took the title last year. This year, Kershaw dropped off the top 10 list.
As a former six-year veteran of the National League West, Ryu shifts to the hitter-friendly American League East division.
While he may not have the impressive velocity or strikeout numbers like Gerrit Cole or Justin Verlander, Ryu excels thanks in part to his ability to get batters to chase pitches outside the strike zone and induce weak contact.