Can the MLB Toronto Blue Jays, which are doing well in the early season in “Hell’s Group,” gain wings with the addition of Ryu Hyun-jin (36) in the second half?
Canadian media Sportsnet mentioned Ryu Hyun-jin’s return on the 18th (Korean time), saying, “As the 2023 season progresses, there are areas where Toronto can develop further.”
As of the 18th, Toronto recorded a season win rate of 0.581 (25 wins, 18 losses) and was ranked third in the Eastern Division of the American League. Although it is 6.5 games away from first place Tampa Bay, it maintains a better record than Minnesota (0.545 odds), first place in the Central District.
Accordingly, Toronto is running second in the American League wild card race, following Baltimore, which is second in the same district. At this rate, it is possible to advance to the postseason for two consecutive years. However, the difference between Toronto and Boston (0.545 odds), which is the lowest in the world, is only 1.5 games, so it can fall down at any time.
Toronto is looking higher. According to the media, Toronto general manager Ross Atkins said, “Our team is getting better and better. We are becoming one team.”
Currently, Toronto is in a situation where the prospect resources that can be raised in the minor leagues are not noticeable. However, if you turn your gaze a little, there are veterans who are on the verge of a sortie, and Ryu Hyun-jin is one of those names.
Ryu Hyun-jin, who underwent Tommy John surgery (elbow ligament joint surgery) in June of last year, is undergoing rehabilitation. Recently, according to MLB.com, the official homepage of Major League 스포츠토토Baseball, he is pitching in the bullpen along with right-hander Chad Green, who was also on the operating table. Atkins’ general manager said, “Ryu Hyun-jin will be able to play against batters next month.”
Toronto still has a good starting lineup. First starter Kevin Gaussman (2-3, 3.27 ERA) is still showing good form, and Chris Bassitt (5-2, 3.05 ERA), who was recruited ahead of this season, is also holding his ground. In addition, Japanese pitcher Yusei Kikuchi, who was sluggish with an average ERA (5.19) in the 5-point range last year, is also gaining 5 wins and undefeated.
However, Alec Manoa, who ranked third in the American League Cy Young Award last season, is sluggish with an ERA of 5.40, and even Jose Berrios is not showing much. He has fallen slightly short of what he was regarded as one of the league’s top starters before the season.
This is a situation where Ryu Hyun-jin’s strength is needed. Joining Toronto ahead of the 2020 season, he ranked third in the American League Cy Young Award with a 5-2 ERA of 2.69 in 2020, a shortened 60-game season. If he can come back healthy, it will be a thousand troops and horses for Toronto.
Toronto is already ready to welcome Ryu Hyun-jin. According to the Toronto Sun, a Canadian media outlet, Toronto coach John Schneider said before the season, “I don’t know how long it will take, but if Ryu Hyun-jin returns, he will give up a starting spot.” In addition, Atkins recently showed a positive reaction, saying, “The recovery situation of Ryu Hyun-jin is very encouraging. It is hopeful.”
According to the current plan, Ryu Hyun-jin is scheduled to step on the major league stage from mid-July to the second half.