This season is bound to be a bit disappointing for many baseball fans who have watched Korean leaguers active in the US major leagues, dreaming of Yu Jong’s beauty through returning to Korea in 2025 and participating in the WBC in 2026 . This is because there are not many players in the game. Of course, Kim Ha-seong (San Diego) and Bae Ji-hwan (Pittsburgh) are currently playing an active role as ‘one-half-back’.
Kim Ha-seong is evaluated as the best defense.스포츠토토 He played all infield positions combined, not second base. The number of runs (DRS) blocked by Kim Ha-seong’s defense reaches 10 as a second baseman, 4 as a shortstop, and 2 as a third baseman. His total of 16 is 6 more than second overall Kevin Kiermeyer (Toronto outfielder) and 7 more than Dansby Swanson (Chicago Cubs shortstop) who is second in infield. Last year, Kim Ha-seong failed to win the shortstop Gold Glove because of Swanson.
Bae Ji-hwan is now the fastest player in the major leagues. The average time to reach first base after hitting is 4.04 seconds, which ranks first among 452 players measured. Bae Ji-hwan’s speed, which puts a lot of pressure on the opposing team, often serves as a ‘game changer’. Bae Ji-hwan, who is especially taken care of by Andrew McCutchen, a hitter with 2000 hits, is getting rid of the obsession with stealing bases and his batting average is gradually increasing. Choi Ji-man, who Pittsburgh brought in as a trade and gave him an annual salary of 6 billion won, is out due to an unexpected Achilles tendon injury. He is currently preparing for a comeback in June.
The reason why the hearts of domestic fans are especially empty because there is a hole in the five-member system of the perfect Toronto starting lineup is that they do not see Ryu Hyun-jin, who represents the Korean league. Ryu Hyun-jin underwent Tommy John surgery after suffering an elbow injury on June 2 last year. Tommy John surgery to reconstruct his damaged elbow ligaments is known to have a high chance of recurrence before the decade has passed. However, Ryu Hyun-jin underwent her second surgery in 18 years since 2004, when she was a sophomore at Dongsan High School. Ryu Hyun-jin’s elbow ligaments made a tremendous long run.
Ryu Hyun-jin has once come back in a splendid way after facing the crisis of his pitcher’s life. Ryu Hyun-jin’s shoulder joint and labrum surgery in May 2015 had only a 7% chance of a successful comeback. However, Ryu Hyun-jin defeated the evaluation of ‘it was over’ and rose to the 1st place in the 2019 National League ERA and the 2nd place in the Cy Young Young. In 2020, he moved to the American League and finished third in the Cy Young Award. What’s interesting about him is that his 2015 shoulder surgery surgeon and last year’s elbow surgeon did the same when he said, “The damage isn’t serious, so I’m confident I’ll make a successful comeback.”
In fact, Ryu Hyun-jin is running the ‘fast track’. Tommy John surgery usually takes 14 to 16 months to return, and the older you are, the longer it takes. Dustin May (LA Dodgers), who was 23 years old when he underwent Tommy John surgery in 2021, returned after 14 months. However, Ryu Hyun-jin, who underwent her second surgery at the age of 12 years older than May, is confident of returning in late July after 13 months, and is actually digesting a schedule that suits him.
The problem is the selection situation of his team, the Toronto Blue Jays. Not too long ago, Toronto’s starting lineup had no vacancy even if Ryu Hyun-jin returned. Kevin Gaussman, Chris Bassitt, Jose Berrios, etc. are doing great, and Yusei Kikuchi is showing an improvement from last year, and the Toronto starting lineup was the only team among 30 major league teams that used only five starting pitchers. It means that the skills of 5 people are overwhelming. On the other hand, the Dodgers have 10 starters in rotation.
However, there was a big variable in Toronto’s perfect starting lineup. Alec Manoa (25), who was the youngest on the team but was the most reliable, fell into a serious slump last year. Toronto sent Manoa down to the minor leagues, who had a mere 1-7 loss and 6.36 ERA in 13 recent starts. It was also sent to the lowest level, the Rookie League. The reason Toronto sent Manoa to the Rookie League is because it has a state-of-the-art ‘pitching lab’ built at a cost of $100 million in Dunedin, Florida, where the Rookie League team is located.
On May 24 (Korean time), Toronto’s Ryu Hyun-jin threw a ball toward the catcher for the first time after undergoing elbow ligament joint surgery. Coaches and colleagues, including coach John Schneider, watched the pitching in the bullpen. ⓒToronto Blue Jays Facebook capture
Possibility of returning to Korea in time for the opening of Hanwha’s new stadium in 2025.
Toronto has succeeded in similar prescriptions before. When the pitcher, the team’s promising star, was seriously underperforming, he was sent down to Single-A and given enough time. The player later recovered perfectly and won two Cy Young Awards, achieved a perfect game in the regular game and a no-hitter in the postseason game, and even entered the Hall of Fame. It’s about Roy Halladay. Therefore, it seems that Toronto will give enough time for Manoa’s correction. In other words, this means that the seat for Ryu Hyun-jin will be vacant.
If Ryu Hyun-jin can return immediately after the start of the second half on July 15 as he has set his goal, Ryu Hyun-jin will be able to meet Kim Ha-sung’s San Diego, his former team, the Dodgers, and Ohtani’s Angels. The last victory Hyun-jin Ryu recorded on May 27 last year was a victory he won in a match against Ohtani.
Ryu Hyun-jin is the most successful Korean pitcher along with Park Chan-ho in the major leagues. However, it is difficult for him to challenge Park Chan-ho’s record of 124 wins or Nomo Hideo’s record of 123 wins because he belatedly entered the U.S. after playing 7 seasons in the KBO League. Then, what is the final goal of pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin?
In 2013, Ryu Hyun-jin moved to the United States and said he would return to the Hanwha Eagles and retire in Korea. And that thought still remains. Ryu Hyun-jin’s two remaining goals are to reap some kind of beauty in the major leagues and to perform well after returning to Hanwha. If so, Ryu Hyun-jin’s return is more likely next year than next year. Ryu Hyun-jin, whose four-year contract with Toronto expires this year, doesn’t have enough time to make an enduring beauty in the major leagues for him to return next year.
In particular, the reason why 2025 is more convincing is that Hanwha opens a new stadium at that time. From Hanwha’s point of view, there would be no better picture than the return of Ryu Hyun-jin to the opening game of the new stadium. In Japan, there is a case of return like Ryu Hyun-jin. Hiroki Kuroda returned to his home team, the Hiroshima Toyo Carp, in 2015 after playing well for three consecutive years with the New York Yankees. It was to keep his promise to return before it was too late. Kuroda played an active role in the 2015 season (40 years old) and 2016 season (41 years old), forgetting his age, and led the league championship in 2016 for the first time in 25 years. And he exited to applause in perfect form by announcing his retirement ahead of the Japan Series.
Upon returning to Korea, Ryu Hyun-jin will challenge 99 wins in the KBO League with his uniform number in his return match. And Ryu Hyun-jin’s plan to lead the revival of Hanwha before his retirement is expected to be the starting point for his soon-to-be return to the major leagues.
Ryu Hyun-jin has one more goal. It is a participation in the 2026 World Baseball Classic (WBC). Head coach Kuriyama of the Japanese national team, which won the WBC for the first time in 14 years, said Shohei Otani (LA Angels), who won the MVP, and Masataka Yoshida (Boston), who won the RBI, did well, but Yu Darvish (San Diego) was decisive. there is. It is said that the team was able to unite as one as Darvish, who stepped up to improve the skills of junior players, became the focal point. We can also have Ryu Hyun-jin as the focal point for the next tournament.