Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Hyun-jin Ryu, 36, shows off his incredible curveball command.
After struggling last season, going 2-2 with a 5.67 ERA in six starts (27 innings), Ryu eventually underwent Tommy John surgery (elbow ligament repair) in June of last year. At the age of 35, there were questions about his ability to make a successful comeback from Tommy John surgery, but after about 13 months, Ryu showed that he was healthy, going 3-2 with a 2.65 ERA in seven games (34 innings).
His curveball has been particularly impressive. While his curveball isn’t his primary pitch, it’s a very versatile pitch that he’s been able to utilize to get strikes and take hitters off-balance whenever he needs to. Since his return, Ryu has been confusing hitters with his slower curveball.
Throughout his career, Ryu had a curveball in the low 70s (112.7 mph). In his first two games back, he averaged over 70 mph on his curveball. However, his velocity has gradually dropped since then, reaching 67.1 mph (108.0 km/h) against Oakland on July 7. The slowest curveball Ryu has thrown this season was only 62.4 mph (100.4 km/h).
Lowering the velocity while maintaining the power of the ball is not an easy task. SSG manager Kim Won-hyung, who used the curveball as his main weapon in his career and had a career record of 134 wins, 144 losses, 12 holds, 26 saves, and a 3.92 ERA in 545 games (2171 innings), said, “Basically, pitchers with good control have a good ability to learn pitches because they have a consistent release point. However, it’s possible because he’s Ryu Hyun-jin. In the major leagues, Ryu is one of the slower pitchers, so I think he is looking for another way to survive.”온라인바카
“You can lower your velocity by just throwing with less force,” said Kim Won-hyung, “but that’s a really simple story. “But it’s a really simple thing,” he said, “to throw at 100 percent and get 70 mph, and then throw at 100 percent again and get the velocity down to 60 mph, that’s a big deal. I didn’t even want to throw like that. Of course, if you take it off, you can throw 120 mph and then 100 mph. But then it’s obvious to the batter. It’s important to throw slowly but with a strong break,” he explained.
“At the end of the day, it’s because he’s Ryu Hyun-jin. He has the ability to throw such a ball, and he seems to know where and how to throw the ball from his head to his body instantly,” said Kim, who admired Ryu’s performance.