Ryu really feels like a lock to make the rotation for me, but when you dig past the superb production, you will find a heavily scarred injury history and low season-by-season innings totals.
To date in 2019, and even going back to his 2018 debut, Ryu has been lights out. The portly Korean celebrity has a 2.20 ERA combining this and last season, easily the best over that span amongst any of the Dodgers’ throng of pitchers, starters or relievers.
The 32-year old’s injury history is well-documented, and well-remembered by Dodger fans. Ryu, a 2013 Baseball America First Team awardee, has accumulated less than 600 innings over the seven years he has been stateside, with the bulk of those innings (344 of them to be precise) coming in the first two years of his career.
If any one Dodger should have their health closely monitored and coddled this season, it probably should be Ryu. Thus, it would make sense for the team to shunt him into the bullpen, to preserve his $18 million dollar arm for later in the season.
Ryu has not thrown over 126 innings in a season since 2017, with 24 starts, and he made 15 starts in 2018. If the Dodgers want to guarantee Ryu’s October health, the safest way to do so would be to make him a spot starter and high impact reliever along with Urias.
But maybe Ryu’s upside outweighs his injury-riddled past. The Dodgers are 14-9 in his last 23 starts dating back to 2018 (including the postseason). If the team wants to be reassured in holding off the streaking Padres, the ever-present Rockies, and the looming powerhouses of the NL East and NL Central, then Ryu needs to be deployed now.
Resting him and the rest of the rotation can be a problem not for April Dave Roberts, but for the so-called “Dog Days of Summer” Dave Roberts.