About two weeks ago, I compared and contrasted a few of the best and brightest candidates for the National League Rookie of the Year Award. Yasiel Puig of the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Miami Marlins‘ Jose Fernandez were the two headliners of that discussion, and the two will face off against each other in a four game series in Miami starting Monday night. But the two Cuban stars will not even be the most interesting story of the night as fellow ROY candidate and pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu will be sharing the mound with Fernandez on Monday.
In the 11 days since I wrote the aforementioned story, Fernandez pitched one game and lowered his outstanding 2.45 ERA and 1.02 WHIP and maintained his respectable 8-5 record in a no decision – it is respectable because he plays for one of the worst teams in MLB. But do not write off the impressive season Ryu has posted in his rookie year. As a 26-year-old first-year player out of South Korea, Ryu has managed a 2.91 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 121 strikeouts and a win-loss record of 12-3.
Statisticians will certainly argue that Ryu gets some of his wins from all of the Dodgers’ offense, which is fair. Ryu has the third most runs of support per start of NL pitchers with 5.35. Fernandez, on the other hand, is getting only 3.57 runs on average from his teammates. Nevertheless, Ryu has only allowed more than three earned runs in four of his 23 starts, so he certainly earns his wins just as Fernandez does.
With the Dodgers being the hottest team in baseball and the Marlins one of the worst – they only need to lose two more games before Miami is 30 games below .500 – the story of the week will most likely be another series win or sweep for the Boys in Blue. Alas, the most interesting story will come from Monday night’s matchup between the two hard-throwing, international, rookie pitchers. Do not miss your chance to watch Jose Fernandez and Hyun-Jin Ryu face off in one of the best pitching battles of the year.
Feel free to leave a comment below with who you think is the better pitcher or about anything else!