Hyun Jin Ryu
After coming back from a year-long layoff due to Tommy John surgery, many weren’t expecting too much from starter Hyun Jin Ryu. As long as he was back and healthy, and produced adequate quality starts, the Jays were more than satisfied with such a result. But instead, Ryu ended up providing a bit more to the ballclub with some much-needed stability in the back end of the rotation.
Despite struggling a bit in his final two starts of the season, Ryu’s comeback was largely deemed a success, as he pitched to a 3-3 record with a 3.46 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 14 walks and 38 strikeouts in 52 innings. In doing so, he helped accomplished what Alek Manoah failed to do for much of the season, which was giving the Jays the chance to win every time he took the mound.
However, looking back over the course of his contract with the Jays, other than the first season in which he was an AL Cy Young finalist, Ryu in large part failed to meet expectations. His tenure was most notably marred by some inconsistency and injury issues in his latter three years. Nevertheless, if he can get back to 100% strength for the upcoming season, he could still provide value as a mid-to-back end of the rotation starter for a ballclub.
With the Minnesota Twins losing both starters Sonny Gray and Kenta Maeda to free agency, along with working on a limited budget, Ryu could be a short-term, value pickup for the team. That is because the Twins have had some success with veteran starting pitchers over the age of 29 with a solid resume in recent years, including Gray, Maeda, Dylan Bundy, Michael Pineda and Rich Hill. Added to the fact that the Twins’ defence ranked 4th in fielding percentage and 9th in team DRS in the entire league, it should play well with Ryu’s pitching ability in inducing balls in play.