A quarter of the way into the season, MLB.com has introduced “crazy stats” that complied strange outliers who have exceeded or disappointed expectations during a shortened season where each team plays 60 games as opposed to 162 games due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
On top of the list was “Korean Monster” Ryu Hyun-jin of the Toronto Blue Jays with 4.05 BB/9. “That number is particularly strange considering that Ryu is usually one of the best control artists in the game,” said MLB.com. “He led the Majors with a minuscule 1.2 BB/9 last season.”
This is his worst record since his Major League Baseball debut in 2013. He has walked nine in 20 innings in four games this season, which is higher than 3.86 BB/9 he posted after shoulder surgery in 2016 not to mention last season’s 1.18 BB/9, which was his personal best. The worst record he had in the KBO League was 3.64 BB/9 in 2008. Ryu often says homeruns are better than walks, which shows his determination to get the number down. Given that Blue Rays manager Charlie Montoyou is carefully managing the number of pitchers, it would become more difficult to play long innings if the number of walks increases.
“Ryu threw a few pitches that did not follow the catcher’s signal,” said MBC commentator Song Jae-woo. “It appears that he is still struggling to control pitching.” He then added it probably has more to do with pressure than with pitch types, saying that accuracy would improve once Ryu takes off the pressure from last season’s exceptional performance. MLB.com also predicted that the number would drop.
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