1) Looking for Hyun-Jin Ryu to stay healthy
Let’s start with Ryu. Since coming to the team following the 2015 season, President Mark Shapiro has been criticized for his unwillingness to spend money to improve the team.
However, Shapiro quieted many of these critics when he inked Ryu to a 4 year, $80 million contract this offseason seemingly out of nowhere. The former Dodgers pitcher was an All-Star in 2019, leading the NL in ERA and finishing 2nd in Cy Young voting.
Ryu has been an excellent pitcher in the major leagues when healthy. The major key for the Blue Jays will be finding a way to keep him on the field for the next four years.
Ryu has averaged only 18 starts a season over his MLB career, including just one between 2015 and 2016 while suffering with a torn labrum. Last year was his healthiest since his rookie season, but he still dealt with groin issues at various points during the campaign.
Realistically, I can see Ryu making 80 percent of his scheduled starts in 2020. It would be wise for the Jays’ training staff to treat him delicately, especially considering the team likely won’t be competing for a playoff spot just yet.
I’m hoping for an ERA below 3.0; not as low as Ryu’s 2.32 mark last year, but a number around 2.90 wouldn’t surprise me at all (his career ERA over a full season is 2.98). For reference, the last time a Blue Jays pitcher made 25 starts for the team and had an ERA below 3.0 was 2011, when Ricky Romero’s ERA was at 2.92 after a full season.