“What if Ryu Hyun-jin returns as the 5th starter? I will go to the Kikuchi bullpen” Toronto’s hopeful gaze

If Ryu Hyun-jin (36) returns in July as he promised, how will Toronto organize the starting lineup?

On the 9th (Korean time), ‘MLB.com’ mentioned starting pitcher depth in an article titled ‘What Toronto players need first’.

Toronto’s current starting lineup is quite competitive. Kevin Gausman, Alec Manoa, Chris Bassett, Jose Berrios and Yusei Kikuchi are projected to make the starting five. Up to the 3rd starter, it is evaluated as the best in the league and is comparable to any other team. However, there are questions about the 4th and 5th selections, which Berrios and Kikuchi should be in charge of right away. 

Last year, Ross Stripling played the role of ‘firefighter’ and filled the gap in the starting lineup created by Ryu Hyun-jin’s surgery and Kikuchi’s sluggishness. However, Stripling qualified as a free agent and left for the San Francisco Giants. There is a strong feeling that the depth of the starting lineup itself has become thinner due to the departure of one stripling player.

However, he predicted the time when Ryu Hyun-jin will return, the time when prospects will settle down, and the possibility of changes in the starting lineup. The main point is the change in Kikuchi’s 5th starting position. Toronto reporter Keegan Matheson, who wrote this article, said, “The 5th selection competition will be held in spring camp, and it seems better to give Yusei Kikuchi a chance. It can’t get worse than 2022,’ he explained. 토토

However, “whether it happens in spring camp or over the course of the season, if Hyun-Jin Ryu or No. 1 prospect Ricky Tideman are entrenched in the starting rotation, Kikuchi could return to the bullpen at some point this year,” he said. , it will be easier to find the strike zone.” 

Ryu Hyun-jin underwent Tommy John surgery on his elbow last year and is spurring rehabilitation with the goal of returning in July this year. Tideman was nominated in the 3rd round of the 2021 rookie draft and is raising expectations as he promoted to Single A, top Single A, and Double A at high speed last year. His minor league performance last year was 18 games, 78⅔ innings, 5 wins, 4 losses, an average ERA of 2.17, and 117 strikeouts. 

Reporter Mathison emphasized that the preliminary starters should eventually be solid, and predicted that it would be more desirable for Ryu Hyun-jin to return to the 5th starter and place Kikuchi in the bullpen. ‘Toronto needs 7 or 8 starting depths more than 22 years. Stripling saved Toronto last year, but it won’t happen every year,” he said, emphasizing that the starting lineup should be strengthened with the return of Ryu Hyun-jin and the growth of promising players.

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