Ryu is first Korean to get Cy Young nomination

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Ryu is first Korean to get Cy Young nomination

Korean left-hander Ryu Hyun-jin has been nominated for the 2019 National League (NL) Cy Young Award.


Ryu Hyun-jin

Ryu, who led all of baseball with a 2.32 ERA for the Los Angeles Dodgers this year, was announced as one of three finalists for the NL’s top pitching prize by the Baseball Writers’ Association of American (BBWAA) on Monday.

Ryu, who’s now a free agent, is the first Korean pitcher to be shortlisted for the Cy Young in either league.

BBWAA members already cast their ballots at the end of the regular season, meaning the three finalists for the Cy Young were the top-three finishers in the voting. That makes Ryu, who was 14-5 this year, the first Korean to even earn a Cy Young vote.

The winner will be announced on Nov. 13 at 6 p.m. EST, or on Nov. 14 at 8 a.m. in Seoul.

Ryu tossed 182 and-two thirds innings, his highest total since throwing 192 innings as a rookie in 2013. It was an impressive bounce back season in a career derailed by shoulder and elbow surgeries that wiped out 2015 and limited him to one start in 2016.

Ryu is up against two pitchers who combined to win the last three NL Cy Youngs: Jacob deGrom of the New York Mets, who earned his first Cy Young in 2018, and Max Scherzer of the Washington Nationals, who won it in 2016 and 2017 and finished runner-up to deGrom in 2018.

Ryu had an excellent start to the 2019 season before faltering through late August and early September. That second-half swoon coincided with deGrom’s surge.

Ryu was the NL Pitcher of the Month for May, after going 5-0 with a microscopic 0.59 ERA in six starts. He enjoyed a 32-inning scoreless streak that month. At the end of May, Ryu’s ERA for the season was 1.48.

He got it all the way down to 1.27 after beating the Colorado Rockies on June 22. Six days later, the same Rockies roughed him up for seven earned runs in four innings - more earned runs than he’d allowed in 10 previous starts combined - and his ERA climbed to 1.83.

But the left-hander lowered it in each of his next six starts to get it to 1.45. And then began the rocky, four-game stretch that likely cost Ryu a real shot at winning the Cy Young.

Facing the Atlanta Braves, the New York Yankees, the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Rockies in succession, Ryu was touched for 21 earned runs in 19 innings. When the dust cleared, his ERA had ballooned a full run to 2.45.

Ryu crossed the finish line with a bit more juice, holding the opponents to three earned runs in his final 21 innings across three starts. He struck out 21 and walked none in that span.

Whether Ryu wins the award or not, he’ll look to parlay his best season to date into a lucrative, multiyear contract in the open market this offseason.

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