Dodgers News: Dave Roberts ‘Expects’ Hyun-Jin Ryu To Be National League Starting Pitcher In 2019 MLB All-Star Game
Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu against the Colorado Rockies
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Dodgers will be well-represented in Cleveland for the 2019 MLB All-Star Game. Dave Roberts will manage the National League team, which now includes Cody Bellinger, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Walker Buehler and Clayton Kershaw.

Bellinger, an MVP frontrunner, won a spot in the NL’s starting outfield through the new Starter’s Election fan voting system. Ryu, Buehler and Kershaw were elected to the NL roster through a ballot among fellow players and coaches.

Roberts now gets the final say on his team’s lineup configuration and starting pitcher. As expected, he all but confirmed after the Dodgers’ win over the Colorado Rockies on Sunday that Ryu will start for the NL in the July 9 midsummer classic, per Bill Plunkett of the Southern California News Group:

Ryu becomes the first Dodgers pitcher to start the All-Star Game since Zack Greinke did so in 2015. Before that, Brad Penny had been the organization’s last pitcher to receive to honor in 2006. For all his accolades, Kershaw has interestingly enough never started an All-Star Game.

Ryu’s starting nod highlights what has been an incredible first half of 2019 for him. His 1.83 ERA makes him the only qualifying MLB starter to have an ERA under two. Over 16 starts, Ryu also has 94 strikeouts compared to just seven walks allowed.

The Dodgers had Julio Urias make a spot start on June 20 and called up Tony Gonsolin from Triple-A Oklahoma City to do the same on June 26. While those moves were mainly to give the Dodgers’ rotation extra rest, they also pushed Ryu from starting on July 7, which would have disqualified him from pitching in the All-Star Game.

Signed to a six-year contract out of the Korean KBO League before the 2013 season, Ryu became excellent third starter behind Kershaw and Zack Greinke over his first two seasons in the Majors.

His career was put in jeopardy, though, when he suffered a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder in 2015. He missed all of 2015 and made only one start in 2016, then missed a huge chunk of 2017 with a groin injury.

He re-established himself as a valuable rotation piece in 2018, enjoying his first generally healthy season in years and working his way onto his first postseason roster since 2014. Roberts even chose him to start Game 1 of the NL Division Series over Kershaw, who had done so in each of the previous five seasons.

After becoming a free agent after the 2018 season, Ryu accepted one-year, $17.9 million qualifying offer from the Dodgers, avoiding a particularly tough free agent market for starting pitchers.

Ryu’s and agent Scott Boras’s decision to bet on himself for another season looks like a stroke of genius now, with the Korean lefty an early NL Cy Young favorite who will likely be sought after by several teams when he hits free agency this winter.