Dodgers: Is Hyun-Jin Ryu the Best No. 3 Pitcher in MLB?

Just a few days ago, Dodgers home game announcer and fan favorite, Joe Davis, offered an opinion on Hyun-Jin Ryu.

Dodger fans have got to love an announcer with such thoughtful insight on a player, particularly when a lot of Dodger fans probably didn’t notice the facts he offered. Let’s take a look at the facts provided by the numbers, shall we?

Closer Look At Ryu’s Numbers

  • IP: 82.1
  • H: 68
  • R: 18
  • BB: 15
  • K: 89
  • FIP: 3.00
  • WHIP: 1.008
  • H9: 7.4
  • HR9: 1.0

Those numbers are incredibly impressive, save one small stain – small sample size. Small sample size can be dicey in this case though, because he did pitch 82 innings. It’s not like he only threw five games and now we’re judging him based on that. The ERA was obviously the lowest of his career, but that’s not the number I like most. This was the only year where his strikeout total was greater than his innings pitched total. The Dodgers pitching staff is well known for tweaking pitchers approaches to get more swing and misses–and whether we can credit the staff alone or Ryu himself is besides the point. The results are there, and Ryu was absolutely on fire this season.

Can We Expect Those Numbers for 2019?

The easy answer to say would be, ‘no’. This isn’t exactly the fairest thing to say, though. Another common expression is ‘regression to the mean’ which just means that when a player or team puts up incredible numbers, they’re inevitably going to perform back to an average level. There are obvious outliers in that idea, but I digress. Ryu’s performance doesn’t show of an anomaly. Maybe he won’t have a WHIP that low, but Ryu just might be the best #3 in Major League Baseball.

What are your thoughts? As a number three, is Ryu the best baseball has to offer? Let us know in the comments!

[button link=”” type=”big”] Austin Barnes is working on his swing[/button]


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  1. No way Ryu duplicates 2018. He wasn’t good in the post season except a start vs Atlanta. He is a soft thrower who can’t stay healthy…

  2. I am a big Ryu fan. A couple of years ago before the heath issues he was by far the best #3 starter in baseball and the combo of Kershaw, Greinke and Ryu was dynamic. Ryu is a very intelligent pitcher that pitches to spots and throws batters off balance by changing speeds and levels he actually pitches. Throwing 97 is not necessary if u can change speeds & levels and keep the hitter off balance. Last year as his first back from potential career ending shoulder surgery he hit 93-94 on the gun and was incredibly impressive. I was very glad he took the 1 Year option and we get to watch him for a full season. He has always been a gamer and usually pitches well in important games.

    • You are right on. He doesn’t have superb stuff but he might be one of the best pitchers in baseball as a pitcher not a thrower. He actually was our best starter in play off games prior to his shoulder injury if you look back in 2013-14 I believe. If he stays healthy I’d expect him to be in the 2.75 -3.35 era range. I actually was wishing he could have started the last game of the WS in 2017 over one who had greater stuff now in Chicago.
      Hoping he dominates now in 2019. John in Yreka

  3. well lets start with Ryu is a pure athelet–have you watched his defense?–he looks fat but moves fast like a football player and he even hits well–Now tell me who is a better #3 starter in Baseball–He may only start 25 games the same with Hill–But if Urias is trained to start 25 and Buehlor & Kershaw start 30 games that leaves 35 ganes for other starters like Strippling or Maeda—That said I love our staff–Could be the best in MLB–Now is Pollock better than Kemp & Puig? I doubt it-I would have rather seen an outfield of Puig-Kemp-Verdugo-Joc–Cody at 1B and Muncy at 2B-but thats what we have–I dont think our offense or defense is as good

  4. Ryu is a baller. I’m glad the Dodgers re-signed him. This will allow someone else to emerge like Walker Buerler was able to last season.

  5. I have no preconceived ideas about Ryu!!!! I have seen him throw lights out ball, and I have seen him get lit up!!!! I can only say I hope he is the former in 2019. My sincere hope is that our pitching staff stays relatively injury free. As Ray states above, our offense concerns me. Giving up Puig,
    Wood and Kemp may hurt us!!!! Go Blue!!!

  6. Ryu was very good last year. Before the injury he was lights out. If the Dodgers play near their potential in 2019 they will get through the west. But I probably no further. My favorite thing about Joe Davis is that he takes some weekends off.

  7. Wow, so many intelligent comments from what seem to be actual fans that know what they’re taking about. For once, I don’t see one comment about how our pitching supposedly sucks and we should be focusing on getting pitchers, not offense. That being said, Ryu has always been very, very solid for us when he’s been healthy. I too, am happy that we re-signed him. I’d love to see what he can do for an entire year at full health.

    • I’m confused, since when was Ryu considered better than Kershaw, Buehler & Hill? The premise of the article is incorrect, the real question is he the best #4 starter in the league…

    • You said it, not me! Haha jk, but seriously–I love the thoughtful comments from our readers. We DO read them and we tend to respond to the ones that have the most thought. Not to say we don’t respond to critical comments–there’s always a lot to critique, but with thought process.

  8. Any concerns about Ryu’s better home vs. road stats along the lines of “the Coors Field effect” for evaluating a Colorado Rockies hitter? I’ve heard that is why the Dodgers moved their AAA team from Vegas, then Albuquerque to now Oklahoma City i.e. better to evaluate whether their hitters(powers numbers) are aided and their pitchers are hindered by the altitude of those two previous locales.

  9. I see several references to before Hyun-JIn’s injury, clearly speaking of his torn labrum. You’re forgetting, or never knew, that he already had the torn labrum when he signed with the Dodgers. That was no secret.
    So last year was the first time we’ve seen him with a healthy shoulder. Consider that when comparing last year to previous years.
    Personally, I was expecting that he’d be better than before.

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