Despite only pitching 160 innings over his past three seasons, Hyun-Jin Ryu is going to be the fourth starter in the Dodgers’ Opening Day rotation.
The Los Angeles Dodgers have announced that another starter has made their Opening Day rotation. Left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu has been named the fourth starter in the Dodgers’ initial rotation, according to Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times. That leaves two pitchers fighting of that fifth and last rotation spot. The two pitchers battling for that spot are Brandon McCarthy and Alex Wood.
Ryu, 30, was terrific in his first two seasons with the Dodgers. The main issue he has faced since then is an inability to stay healthy. While he threw 192 innings in 2013, Ryu only tossed 156.2 frames over the following three seasons. He missed the entire 2015 season after undergoing shoulder surgery.
In his first two seasons with the Dodgers, Ryu had a 28-15 record with a 3.17 ERA. Over that stretch, Ryu also threw 344 innings, striking out 293 batters. He has shown that when healthy he can be a great contributor to the Dodgers rotation.
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The team also announced that both Brandon McCarthy and Alex Wood have made the Opening Day roster and that one of them is bound for the bullpen. This creates some bad news for Ross Stripling, as he is the odd man out and will not most likely not make the Opening Day roster.
The Dodgers finished the 2016 season with a 91-71 record, which helped them claim the National League West title. Ryu was not a huge contributor to that team, only pitching 4.2 innings in one start in 2016. The Dodgers will look to be a stronger and more lethal bunch this season with Ryu as a part of their rotation.
Ryu is set to become a free agent following the 2018 season. He is currently under a six-year, $36 million contract with the team, a deal that he signed in 2013. Ryu will need to pitch full seasons over the next two years to prove to teams that he is worth another long-term deal. The last two seasons have not convinced teams of much.
The Dodgers will definitely benefit from having Ryu back in the rotation this season. With Clayton Kershaw as the ace of the staff, the team needed to find some starters to get wins on the days that he is not pitching. Watch out for the Dodgers, who will most likely win the National League West once again this season. Ryu will be a key part of making that prediction come true.