It’s quite possible that Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu is the most underrated pitcher in all of baseball. He doesn’t get the same name recognition as top-tier pitchers, but he’s slowly developing into one himself.
In his rookie season in MLB, Ryu went 14-8 with a 3.00 ERA. Those numbers are hardly something to scoff at. He actually provides the Dodgers with a 1-2-3 combination in their rotation that is one of the best in baseball. When combined with Cy Young Award winners Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke, Ryu makes the Dodgers’ rotation that much more deadly.
Now entering year two of his major league career, Ryu can go one of two ways. He can either let 2013 be a flash in the pan and he can regress into a mediocre starting pitcher in the major leagues or he can continue to make strides towards becoming a top pitcher in the National League.
As a lefty, Ryu is more valued than he would be otherwise. Obviously, left-handed arms are always in demand and that should help his staying power in the league. How he attacks this spring training, though, could determine whether or not he goes from good to great.
Nobody wants to overdo it in spring training, but Ryu has to start working in his approach towards hitters early in the spring so that once he gets into the regular season he can pick up where he left off a season ago.
Should he develop into the top-flight pitcher that he surely can, Ryu will make the Dodgers’ rotation even more deadly and their World Series aspirations will grow that much more.