After another strong performance from Toronto Blue Jays Hyun Jin Ryu during his recent stint in rehab, his return to day training is imminent. With the Buffalo Bisons, Rio threw six solid innings of three two-hits with five strikeouts and an 85 complete workload for the pitch count.
Overall, in his four rehab starts, he’s compiled a solid 2-0 record, with a 2.45 ERA, 0.78 WHIP, giving up four earned runs with a walk and 16 strikeouts in 18 innings of work, and most importantly, he looks healthy and strong at the same time.
He’s set to join the team on Monday on their road trip to LA, so how about if he’s already been brought back from IL, what are the plans for Ryu to be used by the Jays? This can be broken down into three exciting options for the team to explore in the coming weeks.
Since Ryu is coming out of Tommy John surgery and hasn’t had heavy workloads for over a year, they likely won’t explore that option, but it may be in the Jays’ best interest to put him through training with Ryu initially to build up his strength and stamina and not jeopardize him with a rookie workload early. This way, Ryu can build on his confidence and momentum in the first few weeks and then become as strong as he can be during the Jays’ long run.
The downside to this option is that the Jays won’t know if Ryu can provide rotational stability once he’s re-inserted into the starting rotation, making the trade deadline plans more random due to this unknown factor. Besides handling his rookie workload, the Jays will likely want to deploy him where he can be most effective.
Ryu can be put back into a spin once activated, but have him put him on his back here Manoah to share the fifth spin together. This way, Ryu can start an easy workload, go 3-4 rounds with Manoah taking over after that, and form a solid duo for them to help each other build their confidence in the game.
The problem with this setup is that Manoah may not prefer using them in a tall man/medium relief role and can ultimately negatively affect Ryu and Manoah as a result. Also, if Manoah turns the corner and starts actively throwing already at his peak, it will only make the move more difficult to pull off. But if Manoah continues to struggle, it will certainly become an interesting option to explore.
It’s probably the most viable, realistic, and likely option the Jays should take with a six-man rotation for the coming weeks. This way no one will be left out of the starting cycle and everyone will get plenty of rest to be the best they can be. It also makes a lot of sense, as the Jays will continue the “17 Games in 17 Days” section of their schedule starting later this month. At the same time, the Jays will be able to directly assess what they have in Manoah and Ryu, and how their results will impact their plans for the trade deadline.
Whichever option the Jays ultimately decide on, they will certainly look to have the 2020 AL Cy Young Finals available to them in their postseason quest. Hopefully Ryu can eventually pick up his 2020 form over time and lead the Jays to success in the months to come.