Player #2 - LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu
Ryu shares a lot of similarities to Alex Wood’s profile. He is a veteran southpaw who has battled through numerous injuries throughout his career, but he can be very successful on the mound when fully healthy. Most recently, Ryu underwent Tommy John surgery in the middle of the 2022 season, and he made his return to the starting rotation in August of 2023 for the Toronto Blue Jays.
Dissimilar to Alex Wood, Ryu is coming off of a strong end to his 2023 campaign. In 11 starts, he posted a 3.46 ERA to go with encouraging quality of contract metrics for the Blue Jays. In his 52 innings pitched, Ryu generated a strong ground ball rate of 46.2% to go along with an above average hard hit rate (36.8%) and barrel rate (7.6%).
What’s more, Ryu displayed impressive command of his pitches in 2023, which is something that has been a strength of his throughout his career. He posted a 6.3% walk rate this season, which was in the 80th percentile, according to Baseball Savant. Throughout his 10-year career, Ryu has an impressive walk rate of just 5.4%.
He won't blow you away in the strikeout department, as he sits in the upper-80's with his fastball. However, he can provide dependable innings- which is something the Brewers will be in dire need of.
For the Brewers, it all depends on his price point in this free agent market. He is a client of Scott Boras, meaning his encouraging small sample size in 2023 could push his price outside of Milwaukee's comfort zone. Nonetheless, if the Brewers can bring him in at an AAV under $10 million, his veteran presence at the back of the rotation could go a long way in 2024.