HYUN-JIN RYU, 27, starting pitcher.
Final 2014 stats: 14-7, 3.38 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 8.2 strikeouts per nine innings, .257 opponent batting average.
Contract status: Remains under contract for four more years; at $4.83 million next season.
The good: Enjoyed another noteworthy season with the Dodgers in his second year, cementing himself as one of baseball’s finest No. 3 starters. Walked only 29 batters in 152 innings (1.7 per nine innings) and allowed just eight home runs (0.5). Walks were lowest allowed by rotation. Though tagged with the loss in his postseason start versus the Cardinals, he allowed only one run on five hits in his six innings. Strikeouts rose from last season (7.2 per nine innings to 8.2).
The bad: He was twice sidelined by a sore shoulder, and once by our favorite injury of the season -- a strained buttock. He made 26 regular-season starts. His ERA crept up slightly from his rookie season in 2013 (3.00). Gave up the most hits per nine innings (9.0) of any rotation regular. Oddly, left-handed batters hit better against him (.283) than right-handed hitters (.249).
What’s next: More of the same, the Dodgers hope, just more of it. Set as a regular member of the rotation.
The take: Signing the unknown that was Ryu to a six-year, $36-million contract looked like an expensive gamble by the Dodgers two years ago. He had only pitched in South Korea and there was no real template to use. No other player had ever attempted a jump directly into the majors from South Korea.
But the pudgy left-hander has turned into a great bargain. Along with Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke, he gives the Dodgers possibly the best first-three starters in baseball.
He probably would have enjoyed a clearly better year than his rookie season in 2014 had his shoulder not acted up. It’s something the Dodgers will have to continue to monitor closely.