Hyun-Jin Ryu is among the most unpredictable pitchers in baseball

The National League Cy Young front-runner Hyun-Jin Ryu has had an incredible season.

His earned-run average of 1.64 leads all major league starting pitchers by almost a full run. In July, he became the first South Korean pitcher to start an All-Star game.

A key to his success is that he commands five different pitches equally well, making him one of baseball's most unpredictable pitchers.

Here's how he does it

On first pitches, Ryu is unafraid to use any of the five pitches in his arsenal: Changeup, Curveballs, and three types of fastballs, Cutter, Sinker, and 4-seam.
Two of his teammates, Walker Buehler and Clayton Kershaw, overwhelmingly prefer a fastball on the first pitch, usually a 4-seam pitch.
At two strikes, Ryu is still as unpredictable as he was on the first pitch.
Other pitchers, such as the Reds' Luis Castillo, are more likely to lean on one pitch with two strikes. In his case, he prefers a Changeup.
The only situation where Ryu is overwhelmingly likely to use a fastball is on a 3-0 count, but he’s still more diversified than many of his counterparts.

How Ryu’s arsenal compares to fellow Cy Young contenders









Hyun-Jin Ryu
1.64 ERA

Ryu is having the best season, clocking in his lowest ERA in his six year career.


Clayton Kershaw
2.71 ERA

The shoo-in Hall of Famer increases the use of his slider the deeper he gets in the count.

Max Scherzer
2.41 ERA

The three-time strikeout leader throws fewer fastballs when he gets two strikes on a batter.

Luis Castillo
3.10 ERA

Batters are much more likely to get a changeup from Castillo on a two-strike count.

Walker Buehler
3.31 ERA

Like Scherzer, Buehler relies primarily on his four-seam fastball, and he rarely throws a changeup.

Mike Soroka
2.41 ERA

The Braves’ rising star relies on sinkers but will throw sliders and changeups with two strikes.

Sources: baseballsavant, baseball-reference.com

Credits: Photos by Gene J. Puskar/AP and John Minchillo/AP. Photo illustration by Rahul Mukherjee.