Hyun-Jin Ryu is not often mentioned as one of the best pitchers in baseball. The Los Angeles Dodgers lefty may change that, though, if he continues tossing at his recent absurdly-high level.
Ryu threw seven scoreless innings against the Arizona Diamondbacks last night to notch his National League-leading ninth victory of the year. His ERA sits at 1.35 and his WHIP is a tidy 0.78. He’s tied for the fifth-best WAR in Major League Baseball (3.3)
The last eight starts have been particularly brilliant. Ryu is 7-0 in those outings with an 0.75 ERA and a 16-1 K/BB ratio (48 to 3). And few pitchers have ever made it look easier.
This is a man who is completely at peace with the world, while on the mound and in the moments leading up to an outing.
Despite what countless high school coaches will tell you, there is no one true way to prepare for athletic performance. It’s incumbent on the player to identify what type of mindset best sets themselves up for success. Ryu is clearly succeeding in getting in the right headspace.
A calm soul is a soul ready to climb the mound and get some outs. That’s basic baseball stuff. Ryu’s stoic and serene facade is indicative of a man who is completely in control, attacking every part of the zone with precision.
This is what locked in can look like. And while it’s not particularly intimidating, opposing batter after opposing batter has been walking back to the dugout with far less contentment this year.
That’s all that matters.