Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu entered the 2018 season two years removed from shoulder surgery, looking to build off his previous campaign in which he logged over 100 innings pitched for the first time since 2014.
After earning a spot in the starting rotation during Spring Training, Ryu quickly emerged as a legitimate top-of-the-rotation option for Los Angeles. In April, he posted a perfect 3-0 record while sporting a 2.22 ERA and 0.85 WHIP with 34 strikeouts over 28.1 innings pitched.
Unfortunately for Ryu, a groin injury sustained in his first May start would sideline him for the next three months. He returned with a vengeance in August, picking up right where he left off in the first half of the season.
An excellent showing in September capped off a tremendous second half for Ryu, in which he pitched to a minuscule 1.88 ERA and 1.08 WHIP across 52.2 innings of work (nine starts).
In 15 regular season starts, Ryu went 7-3 while posting a career-low 1.97 ERA, 3.00 FIP and 1.01 WHIP with 89 strikeouts against 15 walks over 82.1 innings pitched.
Ryu followed up that success with mixed results in the postseason. He tossed seven shutout innings in Game 1 of the National League Division Series against the Atlanta Braves, but struggled in ensuing outings against the Milwaukee Brewers and Boston Red Sox.
Between the NL Championship Series and World Series, Ryu accumulated an 0-2 record, 8.25 ERA and 1.83 WHIP across 12 innings of work. He struck out 12 batters compared to just three walks, but additionally yielded 19 hits and one home run.
Ryu did not allow more than three runs in any one of his 15 starts during the regular season. He enjoyed his finest work in the month of September, going 3-2 with a 1.50 ERA and 1.10 WHIP over 30 innings pitched.
After foregoing free agency and accepting the Dodgers’ one-year, $17.9 million qualifying offer for the 2019 season, Ryu returns to the organization for a seventh campaign. He will once again serve as a formidable option in the starting rotation behind the likes of Walker Buehler and Clayton Kershaw.