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South Korean native Hyun-Jin Ryu burst onto the scene this season, racking up 20 strikeouts in his first three outings, notching two wins with a sub-3.00 ERA.  Like many baseball fans and fantasy die-hards, I didn’t know much about Ryu’s repertoire and did little research into his scouting reports from overseas, mainly because it’s difficult to project a guy like Ryu’s prospects in the Majors with success in the Korean leagues, as language-barriers, increased talent level, and moving half a world away can completely change a pitcher’s approach.

Without much info and never having seen him pitch, I decided (and was suggested by a commenter) to watch his start on Saturday against the Orioles to see what his stuff really looks like:

First Inning: Ryu gets three runs of support early in the top half of the 1st and the first pitch to Orioles leadoff hitter Nick Markakis is an 86-MPH fastball on the outer half, 0-1.  The announcers called that a change but it looked like a get-me-over fastball to me.  Ryu is listed at 6-2 230 – he’s a big, big dude.  Ryu misses outside, then an 88-MPH fastball is inside-outed by Markakis between third and short for a single.  First pitch to Manny Machado is an 88-MPH fastball on the outer half, 0-1.  Ryu again with the fastball at 87-MPH at the letters is called a strike, 0-2.  Ryu then goes with a cut-fastball at 83-MPH that breaks in hard from the backdoor for a called strike three on three pitches.  Nice pitch.  The big lefty delivers his first pitch to Adam Jones and it’s a fastball outside, 1-0.  Again outside, 2-0, then I think a change-up that is way outside, 3-0.  Ryu gets a fastball over at 89-MPH, 3-1, then hits the outside corner at 80-MPH with a nasty change-up that gets Jones to wave right through it, 3-2.  Another great pitch there.  Ryu sticks with the change and Jones hooks it foul, then another is fouled down the right field line, then another change-up is low and he walks Jones, only Ryu’s 4th walk on the year.  The first pitch to Matt Wieters is an 89-MPH fastball outside, 1-0, then the next pitch is a change-up that Wieters grounds into an inning-ending double play.  No damage done.

Second Inning: First pitch to Chris Davis is a fastball outside, then Ryu goes inside and Davis is able to hammer it to right for a single.  Then on the first pitch to J.J. Hardy, a fastball is lasered to left and it’s about three rows back for a two-run homer.  That fastball was supposed to be on the outer, lower half and it was slightly elevated and right over the middle and Hardy sat on it.  Three pitches in and it’s two earned runs.  Ryu hits the outside corner, then misses to Steve Pearce, then a change-up is weakly grounded to third, one down.  The first pitch to Nolan Reimold is a 90-MPH fastball fouled back, 0-1.  That’s the first time Ryu has hit 90 I believe.  Ryu misses, then the 1-1 is a huge curveball that somehow dropped on the outer half for a strike.  That had some huge bend to it.  The next pitch is that cut-fastball at 83 that barely dropped below the knees and almost got Reimold swinging, but he held up.  That almost was a strike anyway, another good pitch.  Ryu bounces another cut-fastball then hits that change-up on the lower outer half to get Reimold swinging.  I like Ryu’s stuff a lot right now.  Ryu misses outside with the heater then spins a curveball way outside, then again is outside with the change to fall 3-0 to Alexi Casilla.  Fastball is over, then another is fouled off to work it full.  Another fastball is elevated a bit too high and Casilla hits a single to center that Kemp boots, allowing Casilla to take 2nd. Markakis fouls the first one off, then a cut-fastball is low, 1-1.  Another is fouled off, then a curveball is left high that Markakis tried to hold on but he weakly grounds it right to Ryu to end the inning.

Third Inning: Ok, I’m going to work on being a little more concise now, I promise!  First offering to Machado is a change-up that Machado flies out lazily right to Matt Kemp, one down.  Easy to be concise with 1-pitch outs!  Ryu is at 1-1 and throws a nasty curveball Jones misses, 1-2, then at 82-MPH throws that cut-fastball with similar movement just 10 MPH faster and tighter and Jones misses it for his third strikeout.  Ryu falls behind Wieters 2-0, then 3-0 and barely gets a strike, 3-1.  Ryu again is in there at 91-MPH, 3-2, then 2 are fouled off before a change-up is low for a walk.  Ryu gets ahead of Chris Davis 1-2 and barely misses high with the fastball, 2-2.  One is fouled off, then it’s that nice curveball that gets Davis swinging to end the inning on Ryu’s 4th K.

Fourth Inning: Ryu starts Hardy with a curveball for a strike, avoiding that first pitch fastball.  Man, that pitch still had huge movement to bend into the zone.  Ryu misses, then the next one is hammered down the left field line but it’s barely foul, 1-2.  After a ball, the 2-2 is a fastball at 90-MPH on the outer edge and Hardy strikes out looking, 5 Ks.  Ryu falls behind Pearce 2-0, then that great change-up is waved at and missed, 2-1.  After missing low, the 3-1 is a fastball on the outer edge, and the full count curveball is fouled off before a change-up is grounded very softly to Mark Ellis, 2 down.  The first pitch then to Reimold is an 80-MPH change-up and Reimold sat on it and crushed it to left for a homer.  Second first-pitch homer, with all runs coming off first pitches.  Ryu gets Casilla to foul one off, then a curveball stays in the zone, then a nasty cut-fastball gets Casilla to swing and miss for his 6th K.

Fifth Inning: Sporting a 4-3 lead, Ryu on the 1-0 gets Markakis to ground out weakly to Ellis, one down.  Again on a 1-0, Machado pops out to Adrian Gonzalez, and its two down on four pitches.  Ryu falls behind 2-0, then gets a curveball over, and the 2-1 fastball Jones grounds right to Ryu for the third out on 8 pitches.

Sixth inning: The first pitch to Wieters is a curve for a strike, then he misses outside, then a fastball supposed to be a little further inside on the fists gets too much of the plate and Wieters hits it right to Ethier charging in, but Ethier can’t make the catch.  A better outfielder makes that catch easily.  Ryu at 1-1 throws the curve that gets Davis to swing badly at it, 1-2, then a change-up is blasted into left center for a double for Davis and Wieters is held at third.  I don’t think that was a good pitch to throw there, I would’ve gone to the cut-fastball which hitters have had trouble hitting after the curveball.  Then the first pitch to Hardy is a fastball Hardy takes the opposite field to Ethier right in front of the track and it scores Wieters and Davis tags to third.  All four runs now via the first pitch.  Then a 1-0 to Pearce is laced to left for a single and it scores Davis.  Out comes pitching coach Rick Honeycutt for a chat.  Ryu has now given up 5 runs.  One out, runner at first, and Ryu gets a fastball for a strike to Reimold, 0-1.  Ryu misses twice, then the 2-1 is hit deep to right and Ethier has it on the warning track, two down.  Then the first pitch to Casilla is grounded weakly into the fielder’s choice, and that does it for Ryu.

Final Line: ND  6.0 IP  (95 Pitches) 8 Hits  2 Walks  5 Earned Runs  6 Ks

Final Analysis: A tough start for Ryu, but I really like his stuff.  Featuring a great mix of pitches to work off of a mid-to-below average fastball that topped out at 91, with an above average change-up, cut-fastball (full disclosure: FanGraphs lists it as a slider, I think it looks more like a cut-fastball with a tight break and it doesn’t sweep that 10-4 angle you see sliders from left-handers more frequently, it’s more a tight 11-5) and solid curveball, it’s a great arsenal.  He’s able to control all those pitches effectively, with a 26:5 K:BB ratio now.

Hardy’s homer was definitely hit well, but I think with its low trajectory it’s off the wall in Dodger Stadium.  Then that single by Matt Wieters to start the 6th is probably caught by an average outfielder (sorry Andre Ethier) which also could’ve saved a run.  Ryu got a lot of swings-and-misses and a lot of weak ground balls, so I think he looked better than the line indicated.

Four of the five runs in this outing came on first-pitch hacks, a definite red flag.  But this Orioles lineup is better than it gets credit for sometimes, and don’t forget Ryu will get to pitch in San Francisco and San Diego a lot this season.  Not to mention home games at pitcher-friendly Dodger Stadium.  Ryu is only 26-years old and I’m really excited for his upcoming career.  I think he’s a great target in both redraft leagues and keepers as a back of the rotation guy with every pitching category stat upside, and I don’t think his strikeout rate is much of a fluke.

  1. Andre Ethier says:
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    Don’t be sorry, it’s true.

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
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      @Andre Ethier: If it makes you feel better, I probably boot that one too, but I never played much outfield….

  2. Longbeachyo says:
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    Very nice JB. Do you think Ryu will be the type of pitcher that struggles once teams see him multiple times? His lack of velocity concerns me, but I know some pitchers compensate with good deception. Is Ryu deceptive at all, or is his stuff good enough to get by with a good mix?
    I’m glad you watched Ryu, but I was hoping you caught the Miami/Cincy game last week that featured Fernandez vs Cingrani… Either one of those guys next, please.

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
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      @Longbeachyo: Thanks man! I do worry that his lack of a solid fastball may trouble him when behind in counts, but he showed a great command of his other three pitches he could also throw while behind. But if he doesn’t have a good feel for his breaking stuff, it could be a rough rough outing. Obviously I’m not a hitter and didn’t get a view from behind the catcher, but I don’t think there’s too much deception it’s more 4 solid pitches that kept hitters off balance. I did actually watch the majority of that game, it was just mid-week so not as topical :) Already have done one on Fernandez, Cingrani may indeed be next, thanks for reading!

      • Longbeachyo says:
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        @JB Gilpin: oh yeah, Fernandez was two weeks ago. My bad. Anyway, keep up the good work!

  3. michaelastorga1 says:
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    Just was offered Matt Cain and Giancarlo Stanton for Andrew Mccutchen and Roy Halladay do i take that?

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
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      @michaelastorga1: Yea I think I like the Cain Stanton side a little better, huge upgrade at pitcher (not worried about Cain) and marginal downgrade at OF (love McCutchen but Stanton’s upside is right there rest of way)

  4. Frank Lynch says:
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    Wutup JB!!

      • Frank Lynch says:
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        Chris Johnson from Atlanta? I see he plays 1st n 3rd and has the most fantasy points on waivers.. Is he a must pickup?

        • JB Gilpin

          JB Gilpin says:
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          @Frank Lynch: No he’s still in a time share at 3rd with Francisco and only playing 1st while Freeman is out and he should be back shortly. Can he be useful if he starts? Sure. But not a must own to me.

  5. james d says:
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    Could you talk a bit more about “Four of the five runs in this outing came on first-pitch hacks, a definite red flag.” Why is that a red flag?

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
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      @james d: Because it was his first outing against every hitter on that team (and it will be for most teams in his next series of starts) and if they can lock onto him early without even seek a pitch from him, it may be tougher for Ryu when players have seen him a few times. It’s nothing too quantifiable just surprised to see such good contact early against a new pitcher (well I should say against a good new pitcher)

  6. Riff Raff says:
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    Ive seen a few of his games overseas and this guy can tie up a dude so bad he can break a wrist. One thing i noticed that he seemed to get away with over there is that he like to hang his breaking pitch. Thats not going to work out in the majors and i dont think he’ll be able to ditch those kinda habits this yr. I think he’ll have a goofer problem all yr.

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
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      @Riff Raff: Yea I didn’t see any hung breaking pitches except a few way outside anyway… None over the zone. Although if he does start hanging as I mentioned (I just said if he loses that feel for the breaking stuff) he’s gonna have trouble relying on the fastball to beat major league hitters.

  7. Goliath says:
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    which side do you like better:

    David price and mark trumbo

    or

    Starling Marte and Mariano Rivera and Justin Morneau

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
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      @Goliath: Price and Trumbo. Depending in your need for a closer (which would need to be a HUGE need) they are the best two players in the deal.

  8. James says:
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    Just dropped alcides Escobar for Zack Cozart

    Then dropped Brett Anderson for Villanueva

    Then dropped De Aza for Lorenzo Cain.

    Need your input: Are these all good moves on my part?

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
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      @James: I like Escobar a tad more but it’s close. Definitely would have kept Anderson. Seen too much of Villanueva with the Brewers to wanna out any stock in him. I like Cain a lot just needs to be healthy, but he’s healthy and hot rot now so don’t mind that move at all.

  9. Stantonovation says:
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    AJ or Quintana ?

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
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      @Stantonovation: Right now Quintana and both are stream able so I go with the streaky arm

  10. Wake Up says:
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    Nice work. I enjoyed the breakdown. I like that he’s trying to get ahead in the count early but, there comes a point when you have to not be afraid to walk someone.

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
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      @Wake Up: Thanks man! Yea I hear yea, that may contribute a bit to those big first pitch hacks. But the fact he is walking so little and striking out so many has excited for the rest of the year.

      • Wake Up says:
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        @JB Gilpin: Me too. I agree with you that he bounces back nice. I knew the Orioles are notoriously aggressive, first pitch swinging, and Grey’s rec. was to sit him. I already slapped myself on the wrist for that one. But, I’m still high on him. Looks like he’s throwing a cutter to me too. They still have MadBum as throwing a Slider, but his looks like a cutter to me also.

        • papasmurf says:
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          So far this year the O’s have hit lefties better. Team OPS was 800+ vs southpaws, whereas it is in the mid 700s versus righties.

          I originally had him benched because I would have had to sit an RP to start him, but then the rainout happened and a pitching slot opened up for the next day so I stupidly pitched him.

          Last night I would’ve sat Soriano in LF (0 for 6) if not for ATL snowout. These kinds of breaks always go against me. Hate.

          • JB Gilpin

            JB Gilpin says:
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            @papasmurf: Haha sorry man… Although I don’t think playing Ryu was stupid… Just a rough game that didn’t blow up like my Bud Norris at Oakland play. I knew it was gonna be bad with Norris on the road but gambled. Dumb dumb dumb

  11. Jeff P says:
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    Time to bail on Haren?

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
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      @Jeff P: Pitched better today and I’ve always been a Haren fan. I’m holding out a little longer.

  12. drew says:
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    which side of trade would you rather have
    A. Matt Harvey and Heyward
    B King Felix

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
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      @drew: Wow good one… I’m all in on Harvey and Heyward will recover I tank I actually take A

  13. Steve Wargarble says:
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    Shelby Miller or Kris Medlen?

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
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      @Steve Wargarble: Stucking with Medlen. Love Millers potential but he was brutal the first half of last year in the minors. Maybe he’s figured it out and be consistent but we’ve seen Medlen do it longer.

  14. TheHighlander says:
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    Im activating Freeman, which one do i drop from; Chris Carter, Dominic Brown, Scheirholz, or Ruggiano?
    Thanks

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
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      @TheHighlander: Probably Carter for me he just looks over matched too often.

  15. manbearpig says:
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    Love reading these. I’m a broke collegr kid and I can’t afford to cut into my top ramen budget to pay for every game. So its good to hear the breakdown. Glad to hear u aren’t too worried about the outing.

    Aaaand I just got offered Starlin Castro and David Wright for Miggy Cabrera. I would move Ben zobrist to my outfield, dropping ichiro to do it. I love might, but this seems like an offer I can’t refuse. Am I crazy?

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
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      @manbearpig: thanks man! Trust me those days were not too long ago for me as we’ll. Ramen was an expensive feast! I think it’s an even trade I don’t think it’s a no brainier how big is the league? You’re obviously giving up the best player and I’m not a huge Castro fan against where a lit of people have him ranked. But it is a big upgrade over Ichiro.

      • manbearpig says:
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        @JB Gilpin:
        It’s a 10 team ESPN H2H. He has Hanley Ramirez, so I could probably get him instead. My team has been batting HR’s like crazy, but dexter fowler is largely responsible, so I don’t for see that holding up. I feel torn between this, and picking up Cory hart for one of my relievers and waiting for him instead.

        C: Rosario
        1B: Goldschmidt
        2B: Pedroia
        3B: Miguel Cabrera
        SS: Asdrubal Cabrera
        1B/3B: Martin Prado
        2B/SS: Rutledge
        OF: Shin Soo choo
        OF: Desmond Jennings
        OF: Hunter Pence
        OF: Dexter Fowler
        OF: Ichiro Suzuki
        UTIL: Zobrist

        • JB Gilpin

          JB Gilpin says:
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          @manbearpig: Yea I thi I’d rather Castro over Han Ram though. It’s as 50/50 as it gets I think I probably do that deal bc I hate Ichiro haha.

  16. manbearpig says:
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    Love reading these. I’m a broke college kid and I can’t afford to cut into my top ramen budget to pay for every game. So its good to hear the breakdown. Glad to hear u aren’t too worried about the outing.

    Aaaand I just got offered Starlin Castro and David Wright for Miggy Cabrera. I would move Ben zobrist to my outfield, dropping ichiro suzuki to do it. I love miggy, but this seems like an offer I can’t refuse. Am I crazy?

  17. Ron says:
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    Would you trade Verlander for Cano if your other pitchers are:

    Dickey, Moore, A. Sanchez, Sherzer, H. Bailey, Iwakuma, Villinueva, Quintana and Garza(DL)

    • Tehol Beddict says:
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      @Ron: please list Scherzer the k god in front Annibella sanchez

      • JB Gilpin

        JB Gilpin says:
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        @Tehol Beddict: Oh c’mon man, you and Scherzer… Next your gonna talk up Detwilier so ill trade you…

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
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      @Ron: Yea I think I would. I probably would in any situation, like that move

  18. Frank Lynch says:
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    Sup man.. Do you still have full faith in Dempster? I picked him up n he got rocked. Just making sure

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
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      @Frank Lynch: Full faith as in you could never ever drop him all year? Maybe not, but still like him and 4 earned runs in 7 isn’t really getting rocked, Bud Norris will tell you! I keep rolling him

  19. Frank Lynch says:
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    Het is there anything wrong with O’Flaherty on Atlanta? He’s got the highest fantasy points outta all relievers on waivers.. Oh also, how you feel about this trade? I would be giving MCcutchen, AJ Griffen n Mark Reynolds for David Wright, Halladay n Cingrani??? My out field is stacked with J Upton, Holliday, Crawford, Beltran, Gardner n MCcutchen.. My pitching
    Latos
    Hammel
    AJ Griffen
    Iwakuma
    Shelby Miller
    Samardzija
    Dempster
    Mujica
    Putz
    Jim Henderson

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
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      @Frank Lynch: Nothing wrong with O’Flaherty just he isn’t a closer. I don’t think I do that because while Wright is solid Halladay is still a question mark although I do think hell be good enough to stay fostered and Cingrani doesn’t have a guaranteed spot in the rotation once Cueto is back

  20. alex says:
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    Which catcher would you roster for the rest of the year: buck, lucroy, or pierzynski? In what order? Thanks

    • alex says:
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      @alex: actually lets say buck, Perez, lucroy, arenciba, pierzynski? Who are the top 2 catchers

      • JB Gilpin

        JB Gilpin says:
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        @alex: I’d go Perez Pierz Arencibia Lucroy then Buck

        • alex says:
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          @JB Gilpin: thanks alot! Also Parnell or frieri?

          • JB Gilpin

            JB Gilpin says:
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            @alex: Eesh that’s a tough one… Probably Parnell but not too excited about that call.

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