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What To Do About… Hyun-Jin Ryu

It’s only natural that as the resident Dodgers fan here at The Dynasty Guru that I would write about the Dodgers other Rookie of the Year candidate: Hyun-Jin Ryu*. Entering the year there were a lot of questions about Ryu and the type of fantasy value he could provide. Much of this was because the Dodgers had “too much pitching” (how’d that work out?) and we weren’t quite sure if he might be shifted to the bullpen to begin the season. As it turns out, the big dollars the Dodgers invested in Ryu meant he’d have a starting spot out of the gate, and despite a less than ideal fastball, Ryu has been the Dodgers second best pitcher thus far in 2013, besting fellow free agent signee Zack Greinke and making a case for the all-star team.

*not how this article actually came to be

So…how did this all happen exactly? After all, before the year started some were saying Ryu profiled better as a 4th or 5th starter or possibly even in the bullpen and now he’s recording a 2.82 ERA (3.50 FIP), with a 19.7% strikeout rate and a healthy 1.48 GB/FB ratio. Well, he’s got a few things going in his favor. Early on in the season it was his first time around the league and that generally gives pitchers an advantage on hitters. Add in the fact that Ryu’s best pitch is his change up, and that’s another advantage, as hitter’s are able to adapt to change up first pitchers the more they see them. The other thing going in Ryu’s favor was that his fastball was a little better than advertised during the early portion of the season. One of the reasons that analysts such as Keith Law were tepid on Ryu was because the fastball wasn’t good enough (in regards to velocity) to make him more than a 4th starter. However, with a fastball in the 91-92 MPH range, he’s been effective, to say the least. It would be a concern if that velocity started to drop though, as less a slower fastball would have a significant impact on the effect of his change up in addition to being a more hittable pitch. See the chart below (courtesy of Brooks Baseball) to see Ryu’s velocity by month:

Month Fourseam Change Slider Curve
3/13 91.10 80.91 82.98 71.84
4/13 90.76 80.70 83.11 71.52
5/13 90.62 78.41 81.77 71.59
6/13 91.13 79.75 81.68 72.41
7/13 89.68 79.45 81.10 71.52

Another thing worth noting for Ryu is his massive platoon split. He’s sporting a 584 OPS-against when facing right-handed batters. Facing lefties though? 836. So if you’re a Ryu owner like I am, you might want to check and see if the lineup he’s facing is loaded with lefties. As a change up artist it’s not entirely surprising to see such a reverse platoon split, but it’s worth noting for matchup purposes.

So what exactly to make of all this? It’s my suggestion that if you invested in Ryu in your pre-season draft or were able to jump on board early that a trade would net you a healthy profit. He’s already given you plenty of earnings on the season, and the gap between his ERA and FIP is a bit concerning (not to mention the Diamondbacks are smacking him around as I type). On top of the that, his second and third time through the league is only going to make it tougher on him (and your fantasy team). None of this is to say that he won’t be a solid pitcher. That’s exactly what I think he is. But if someone in your league is desperate for help, you might be able to sell them on Ryu’s shiny ERA and impressive win total. I wouldn’t go out of my way to move him, but if you’re in the position to move pitching, he’s a guy I would consider moving before others.

All stats outside of the table come from FanGraphs.com

You can follow me on Twitter at @cdgoldstein
You can read my other work at Fake Teams and MLB Draft Insider

The Author

Craig Goldstein

Craig Goldstein


  1. Tony
    July 11, 2013 at 10:57 am

    Might be able to move him for Hosmer and Webster in my dynasty league.

    • July 11, 2013 at 11:04 am


      • Tony
        July 11, 2013 at 1:10 pm

        Thought you would have thought that was a good deal. He is iffy on it so lets see what happens. I sold Matt Cain today for Rosenthal today. Selling low on Cain? Yes, but I have been nearly dead last for saves, and I have a bunch of good young starting pitching considering I am in a very deep fantasy league (Wacha, J. Fernandez, Jarred Cosart, Ryu, Alex Meyer..ect).

      • July 11, 2013 at 2:19 pm

        I think that’s selling TREMENDOUSLY low on Cain. Rosenthal is a reliever for good in my opinion and doesn’t yet have a closer job.

  2. sfsf2109345
    July 11, 2013 at 3:16 pm

    I have a trade offer.

    20 team league (32 total players per team) with only 1 SP and 3 RP slots daily.

    Trade Hyun-Jin Ryu for Edward Mujica?

    • July 11, 2013 at 3:33 pm

      Not to be difficult, but I need more information. Do you need saves? How strong is your pitching? Roto? H2H?

      • sfsf2109345
        July 11, 2013 at 3:42 pm

        Thank you for your reply.

        H2H points. It’s 20 teams with 32 player rosters. 7 SP limit per week. 1 SP and 3 RPs slots per day.

        So, we can only start 7 SPs per week and only 1 SP per day.

        Ks = 3 points, QS = 7 points, Saves = 8 points, Holds = 4 points.

        There are essentially no RPs available in this league.

        Here is my team:
        SPs: Gio Gonzalez, Jacob Turner, Zach Wheeler, Shelby Miller, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Brandon Beachy, Michael Pineda, Jarred Cossart, Jose Quintana, Jorge De La Rosa.

        RPs: David Robertson, Antonio Bastardo and Paco Rodriguez

      • July 11, 2013 at 3:46 pm

        Yes, I make that deal then. Fairly quickly too.

  3. sfsf2109345
    July 11, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    Thank you. Done!

    Also, I’m trying to buy low on Jason Heyward but my trade partner is insisting on Shelby Miller + Martin Prado and so I said no. Should I say yes?

    I already have Trout, J Upton, Taveras, Bogaerts and Yelich,.

    Also, What are your thoughts on Pablo Sandoval? He’s slumping badly and I’m getting a little impatient with him.

    • July 11, 2013 at 4:16 pm

      I would probably not deal Miller and Prado for Heyward. Obviously Bret is still a fan, and I am too, but I love Miller and think he’s absolutely legitimate. Re: Sandoval…I’m a bit worried. His weight has never affected him before but he doesn’t LOOK good and it’s hard to get behind that. He’s obviously extremely talented but bad bodies can sour quickly. I’m hesitant to say that’s what’s going on but I’d be remiss not to consider it.

      • sfsf2109345
        July 11, 2013 at 7:22 pm

        Thank you. Will do.

        I actually had high hopes for Sandoval this season….Even on you latest update, I saw Sandoval pretty high up on your top 500 list. He was one of my keepers. I probably won’t keep him next year.

  4. […] received far too little. Ryu had been quite good for me all season (this took place in July) but I had qualms about Ryu going forward and decided to take my own advice. Welp, it turns out that July was not an […]

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