In the Major League (MLB), where fastballs exceeding 100 miles (161 km) are popular, Ryu Hyun-jin (Toronto Blue Jays)’s slow curve is in the spotlight.
Ryu Hyun-jin started 5 games this year and recorded an average ERA of 2.25 with 3 wins and 1 loss. He is leading Toronto’s starting lineup after recovering from elbow ligament surgery last year. Toronto has won 4 wins in 5 games in which Ryu Hyun-jin started.
Ryu Hyun-jin is scheduled to start in an away game against the Colorado Rockies held at Coors Field in Denver, Colorado, USA on the 2nd (Korean time).
Because of his 36-year-old age and three previous elbow surgeries, it seemed difficult for Ryu Hyun-jin to find the same pitch as in the past.
After returning, Ryu Hyun-jin paid more attention to control than restraint, and dealt with batters with his unique slow-paced pitching.
Ryu Hyun-jin used a four-seam fastball and changeup as his main weapons when facing right-handed hitters, and when facing left-handed hitters, he shakes the timing of batters with four-seams, cut fastballs, and curveballs.
The curve is a pitch Ryu Hyun-jin throws for both left- and right-handed batters.
According to Baseball Savant, which provides various data to the major leagues, Ryu Hyun-jin threw the most pitches at 44.7% with four-seam. His changeup is 25.3%, his curveball is 18.6%, and his cut fastball is 11.3%.
The usage rate of the curve is low, but it is used when it is most decisive to maximize efficiency.
The average speed of Hyunjin Ryu’s curve is 69.6 miles (112 km), and the maximum speed is 72.9 miles (117 km). The minimum speed was revealed to be 64.6 miles (104 km). The curve in the mid-60s is similar to the speed of a knuckleball.
As the curve is slow, the movement was found to be significantly above the major league average. On average, Ryu Hyun-jin’s curve moves horizontally by 13 inches (33 cm) for right-handed hitters, and the drop is 72 inches (182.88 cm). This is a large move compared to the average horizontal movement of the major league curve, which is 9 inches (22.86 cm) and the drop width is 54 inches (137.16 cm).
The height of the mound is around 30 cm, and Ryu Hyun-jin’s curve average release point is 6.1 feet (186 cm), so his curve goes toward the catcher and then sinks to the ground.
Now, rather than expecting how fast Ryu Hyun-jin will throw the ball, the focus is on how slow the curve will be and how many misses and hits will be induced with that curve.
Ryu Hyun-jin, who has returned to the mound, is proving that he can still work in the major leagues with his control and rapid control.