Hyun-jin Ryu is a professional baseball pitcher from South Korea. He currently plays for the Toronto Blue Jays.
Called Ryu Hyun-jin in his native language, he played in the Korea Baseball Championship for quite a while before being drafted into Major League Baseball.
He is impressively the first Korean pitcher to pitch in Major League Baseball.
Here are some quick facts about Hyun-jin Ryu
|Date Of Birth
|March 25, 1987
|Place Of Birth
|Incheon, South Korea
|36 Years Old
|1; Lucy Ryu
|6 feet and 3 inches
|Toronto Blue Jays
Hyun-Jin Ryu – Early Life, Childhood and Education
Hyun-Jin Ryu is a South Korean native, born on March 25, 1987. When Ryu was 10 years old, his father, Jae-Cheon Ryu, bought him a lefthander’s glove that usually goes in the right hand.
This is why, despite being a right-handed person, Ryu eventually learned to pitch with his left hand. He is a left-handed pitcher even today.
He attended Incheon’s Dongsan High School. He is currently studying for his master’s degree at Daejeon University.
Hyun-Jin Ryu – Early Career, Teams, and Success
High School Championships
Before going professional, Hyun-Jin was an amateur playing high school baseball. He did not pitch in any official games before 2005.
Initially, he was supposed to pitch in 2004, but he went through Tommy John Surgery, making him unfit for the season.
In 2005, he played for his high school team in the Blue Dragon Open National High School Championship, pitching an amazing 22 consecutive scoreless innings at the team’s ace and batting .389 in the tournament.
Naturally, he was named the Best Pitcher at the end of the competition for his outstanding performance.
Ryu was selected for the South Korea national junior team that became the runner-up in the 6th Asian Junior Baseball Championship in South Korea.
He started the semifinal match against the Chinese Taipei of Taiwan and led his team to the finals.
Hanwha Eagles (2006 – 2012)
Hyun-Jin Ryu started his professional baseball career with the Hanwha Eagles as the first pick in the second round of the KBO League draft.
He made his professional debut on April 12, 2006. His rookie year finished with an 18-6 win-loss record. It is considered an impressive record for a newcomer like him.
For his outstanding performance, he won both the rookie of the year and the player of the year. He also bagged the MVP for the same season. Safe to say, it was a pretty good season for Hyun-Jin Ryu.
In 2008, Hyun-Jin participated in the South Korean National Baseball Team for the 2008 Olympics.
His team won a gold medal in the baseball tournament. Hyun-Jin’s performance was key to the wins against Canada in the semifinals and Cuba in the finals to win the gold medal.
2009 was a big year for Hyun-Jin, considering that he represented the South Korean National Baseball team in the 2009 World Baseball Classics. As a result, South Korea became the runner-up with Japan as the winner.
Hyun-Jin Ryu was the first-ever pitcher in history to strike out 17 batters in a nine-inning game. He repeatedly expressed his wishes to play in the MBL. As a result, many scouts from the MBL visited South Korea to watch him pitch.
November 9, 2012, was when Eagles accepted the Los Angeles Dodgers’ bid for a whopping $27.5 million to negotiate a contract with Ryu. By December, Ryu was signed into a six-year and a $36 Million deal.
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Los Angeles Dodgers (2013-2019)
Ryu achieved his first win as a dodger in a spring game on St. Patrick’s day. He retired 11 men in 5 2/3 innings. He struck out an impressive six and only allowed a total of 5 to reach base.
Hyun-Jin Ryu’s official Major League Baseball debut began when he competed against San Francisco Giants on April 2, 2013. He pocketed his first-ever MBL win when he played against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Arizona Diamondbacks gave him his major league hit and a double in the third innings on April 13, the same year.
His personal record in the MBL was broken in the game with the Colorado Rockies. He struck out 12 batters, which were his personal best for the MBL.
Hyun-Jin Ryu is also the only South Korean Pitcher to start in a postseason Major League Baseball.
2014 was a good year for Ryu. His season started in Sydney, Australia. He held the D-backs without a score throughout the five innings. He started a total of 26 games for the Dodgers despite being on rest time due to various injuries throughout the year.
Mid-Way through the Los Angeles Dodgers
2015 was full of injuries and rested time for Hyun-Jin. He had a tight back from the beginning of the training sessions. He also faced shoulder discomfort, due to which he was kept on the disabled list for the time being.
Later had to go through shoulder surgery to reduce his pain in the shoulder. This made him rest for the season and his hopes to pitch a career-high of 200 innings.
Hyun-Jin was back in 2016 fit to perform. He started for the Dodgers against the San Diego Padres.
Ryu reported elbow discomfort after the game and was placed back on the disabled list. He also went through a debridement surgery to fix the problem on his left elbow.
Find More About His Contract and Career Earnings on Spotrac.
Later years in Los Angeles Dodgers
Ryu got his first major league since 2014 in a 5-3 victory against the Philadelphia Phillies.
He also pitched 4 scoreless innings out of the bullpen and pocketed his first major save against the St.Louis Cardinals in a 7-4 win. Ryu made a total of 24 stars for the Dodgers in that year.
In 2018, he had to be put on the disabled list again because of a groin injury. However, he started 15 games with the team and posted 85 strikeouts, going with a 7-3. He was also the first Korean pitcher to have started in a World Series game.
Hyun-Jin Ryu became a free agent after 2018 but decided to accept the offer by the Dodgers for $17.9 million. As a result, he stayed with the Dodgers until the end of 2019.
He also pitched as a starter for the Washington Nationals. These two pitches won him NL Player of the Week. In addition, he is the record holder for the tenth longest scoreless innings pitched among the Dodgers.
Ryu won the MLB Pitcher of the Month in May. In addition, he was selected as the National League’s starting pitcher for his first-ever All-Star appearance at the 2019 aLL-Star Game.
He hit his first career home-run to Antonio Sanzatela of the Colorado Rockies. Hyun-Jin finished the season with a record of 14-5 and an MLB season-leading ERA of 2.32.
He also had the lowest walks per nine innings ratio of 1.183. As a result, he got the second-most votes in the National League Cy Young Award.
Toronto Blue Jays(2020 – present)
Hyun-Jin Ryu signed a four-year, $80 million contract with the Toronto Blue Jays. The season did not begin until July because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He made his Blue Jays debut as the Opening Day starting pitcher. He threw 4 2/3 innings in Toronto’s 6-4 victory against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Hyun-Jin finished the season with a 5-2 win over 12 starts.
He has a pretty impressive record till now the as he became the first Blue Jays pitcher in this season to pitch the season to pitch into the 7th inning and the second starter to throw 100 pitches while yielding zero runs, 5 hits and 2 walks, and a 4-1 victory over the New York Yankees.
Ryu led the Blue Jays’ first postseason berth since 2016.
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Hyun Jin Ryu | Stats
Hyun-Jin Ryu | Pitching Style
Hyun-Jin Ryu is a 6ft 3 inch, 255-pound pitcher. He is a left-handed pitcher. Hyun-Jin throws a fastball at around 89-92 miles per hour. He varies between a cutter, a curveball, a slider, and a change-up.
Many believe that change-up is his best style of pitching.
He has drawn major attraction for his ability to locate the pitches; specifically, he throws within the strike zone. Ryu is also the first and only Asian pitcher with a sub 3.00 career ERA in major league history.
Who did Hyun-Jin Ryu marry?
Hyun-Jin Ryu is a married man. He married Korean Broadcaster Ji-Hyun Bae on January 5, 2018. Kim-In Sik, his manager at Hanwha, officiated his wedding. His wife gave birth to their daughter, Lucy Ryu, on May 17, 2020.
Hyun-Jin Ryu is a supremely popular sports personality in South Korea and all over the world. He attracts Korean baseball fans in nearly every stadium he pitches in.
One interesting example of his popularity is when he won a game against the Toronto Bue Jays at the Rodgers Center; hundreds of Korean fans stayed after the game simply to give Ryu a standing ovation, a common practice during the game but unheard of after the game.
His lack of proper English language knowledge became a major source of frustration when he first joined the Los Angeles Dodgers, as it was a challenge to communicate with his teammates. However, Ryu eventually became better at it as time went on.
Hyun-Jin is extremely respected in the South Korean baseball scene.
This is proved by the fact that after he departed from the Hanwha Eagles, no one has worn his Jersey Number 99 since he left for Major League Baseball in 2012.
Hyun-Jin Ryu | Social Media Presence
Furthermore, his Twitter account has 98.5 thousand followers.
Hyun-Jin Ryu | FAQs
When did Hyun Jin Ryu hit his first career home run?
He hit his first career home run on September 22, 2019, in a match against the Colorado Rockies.