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Hyun-Jin Ryu Favored to Win NL Cy Young Award After Going 5-0 in May

Ryan Murphy

by Ryan Murphy in MLB Baseball

Updated Apr 1, 2020 · 6:53 PM PDT

Hyun-Jin Ryu
Hyun-Jin Ryu was unbeatable in May. Photo by Keith Allison (flickr) [CC License].
  • Hyun-Jin Ryu has seen his NL Cy Young Award odds shorten significantly after going undefeated in May
  • The 32-year-old hurler has earned comparisons to Hall of Famer Greg Maddux thanks to his impressive command
  • Can Ryu maintain his current pace after countless injury setbacks?

Ryu searching for the National League’s hottest pitcher? Look no further than Hyun-Jin Ryu. The Dodgers southpaw is 8-1 this season and leads the Senior Circuit in ERA, WHIP, and strikeout-to-walk ratio.

Ryu’s sparkling stats have caught the attention of bookmakers, who have adjusted his NL Cy Young Award odds from +1600 on May 2nd to +280 on June 3rd.

2019 NL Cy Young Odds

Player 2019 NL Cy Young Odds
Hyun-Jin Ryu (Dodgers) +275
Luis Castillo (Reds) +750
Zach Davies (Brewers) +750
Zach Greinke (Diamondbacks) +750
 Max Scherzer (Nationals) +800

*Odds taken 06/03/19

Ryu was Undefeated in May

While other hurlers have been good lately, Ryu has been unbeatable. The South Korean sensation was 5-0 with a 0.59 ERA during the month of May as he routinely handcuffed hitters with his impressive arsenal of pitches. The 32-year-old Ryu was especially sharp against the Braves on May 7th as he threw a complete game four hitter.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts was full of praise for his ace afterwards. “He’s an elite pitcher in baseball,” he said. “It makes it fun to sit back and watch. I think the only time he broke a sweat was when he was covering first base.”

Ryu turned in another exceptional performance on May 30th against the Mets as he gave up just four hits in 7.2 innings while striking out seven. It was his fourth shutout of the month and it extended his homer-less streak to an astounding 48 and 2/3 innings.

Ryu’s Control Has Been Exceptional

Ryu doesn’t have a menacing fastball or a particularly wicked curve, but what he does have is a complete mastery of all of his pitches. He paints the corners as well as any pitcher in baseball, drawing frequent comparisons to Hall of Famer Greg Maddux. Ryu has given up just five walks in 73 innings and has yet to issue more than one free pass in a game in 2019.

Ryu’s pinpoint accuracy has resulted in a league-leading 0.808 WHIP and a 13.80 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He threw 32 consecutive scoreless innings in May and, hard as it may be to believe, appears to be getting better with every start.

Health is a Concern with Ryu

The one thing that could derail Ryu’s breakthrough season is his health. The left-hander missed all of 2015 with shoulder issues and was limited to just one game the following season after undergoing elbow surgery. Ryu suffered another setback in 2018 when he tore his groin in a game against the Diamondbacks on May 2nd. The injury cost him three and a half months and waylaid what was shaping up to be the finest season of his career.

Ryu has never been named to an All-Star team and has never finished in the top 10 in Cy Young voting.

Now that he’s on the wrong side of 30, it’s reasonable to wonder if Ryu can stay healthy for the remainder of the season. His sudden dominance at age 32 should also be viewed with a healthy dose of skepticism. This is, after all, a player who has never been named to an All-Star team and has never finished in the top 10 in Cy Young voting.

Davies Has Yet to Lose in 2019

If you’re looking for slightly better value we recommend Brewers right-hander Zach Davies, who is 6-0 with a sparkling 2.20 ERA. The 26-year-old has held opposing teams scoreless four times this season and has given up two earned runs or less in seven of his 12 starts.

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Davies certainly won’t go undefeated all year, but he’s a promising young pitcher on a division-leading team who should rack up his fair share of wins. Take a chance on him now before his +750 odds get any shorter.

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