At the trade deadline, when the Toronto Blue Jays acquired key arms to bolster their bullpen for the stretch run, many of the Jays’ faithful were lamenting about the fact that the team did not address their need for starting pitching depth. At the time, it appeared there was no “next man up” waiting at Buffalo in which the Jays had confidence in bringing up if anything were to happen to their starting rotation. As a result, they ended up putting all their hopes in that at least one of Alek Manoah or Hyun Jin Ryu (or even better, both) would step up to solidify the fifth spot in the rotation.
Well, we all know what has happened in the case for Manoah, but luckily for the Jays, Ryu has helped prove that the Jays’ gamble paid off. Ever since coming off the IL after missing over a year due to Tommy John surgery, Ryu has been everything the Jays could hope for. Expectations weren’t too high, since they were expecting that Ryu might need a few games to get back into his rhythm and be effective like he was once before. However, to the surprise of many despite a small sample size, it has been encouraging to see that he has regained some of his dominant form that he had shown during his first season with the ballclub back in 2020.
In four games to date this season, Ryu has posted a 2-1 record with a stellar 1.89 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, giving up only four earned runs, one home run, five walks and 15 strikeouts in 19 innings of work. Even more impressive has been his last three starts, he sported a perfect 0.00 ERA, .122 opponents batting average, 0.71 WHIP, with four walks and 12 strikeouts in 14 innings pitched.
More importantly, he has been locating his pitches effectively, which is key for the pitching arsenal that he possesses. In doing so, he practically would be able to deal just like this.
The Jays will most certainly extend his length in his future games as he builds up his strength and stamina, but the early results coming off his year-long layoff looks very promising for both Ryu and for the ballclub. At the same time, this will enable the Jays to do what is necessary with Manoah to get him back on track, as Ryu has stabilized his spot in the rotation for the foreseeable future. The main thing now would be to manage his overall workload accordingly to make sure to preserve his health so that he can be effective down the stretch, and hopefully into the postseason if the Jays make it there.
For now, at least Ryu has answered the bell for one of the Jays’ deadline worries and in doing so, has given the confidence to everyone that he can still get the job done at the highest level.