Dodgers: Five Bold Predictions for the 2018 Season

SURPRISE, AZ - FEBRUARY 24: Logan Forsythe
SURPRISE, AZ - FEBRUARY 24: Logan Forsythe /
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Dodgers /

Hyun-Jin Ryu returns to pre-injury form

When Ryu came over from South Korea in 2013, no one knew what Los Angeles was getting. Two years later, we learned that he was a guy that had a 3.16 ERA, across 344 innings, that was good at keeping the ball on the ground and limiting hard contact. In other words, an excellent and dependable number three starter behind the dynamic duo of Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke.

Then injury hit, causing him to miss all but 4.2 innings over the next two years. 2017 was his return, and it was a bumpy one. He threw 126.2 innings and had a 3.77 ERA, which is pretty darn good considering the circumstances. It just did not start off pretty. But, his overall body of work from last year is more than satisfactory from your number five starter

It was an up-and-down season, but as the year went on, he got better, which was expected. He was very rusty because it was his first full season since 2014. The first year back is never easy, but looking back, he impressed.

With a full year under his belt, expect him to perform like the pitcher he was before his shoulder problems. His velocity improved as 2017 progressed, and he set career-highs in K/9 and strikeout percentage.

The vertical movement in his four-seamer and changeup have some catching up to do, but his curveball’s movement was as good as it has ever been since his MLB debut and he has also added a cutter to his arsenal. His horizontal movement was essentially at a career-best, according to Brooks Baseball.

Ryu also had a nine-game stretch where he posted a 2.13 ERA and 8.7 K/9 between June and August, reminding us of the excellence he is capable of.

And it cannot be overstated just how important having a season under his belt is. And this is his contract year, so that is a good combination for the Dodgers and Ryu. Expect the good times back.