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Blue Jays' Ryu Hyun-jin earns 2nd straight Cy Young nomination

All News 09:14 November 03, 2020

By Yoo Jee-ho

SEOUL, Nov. 3 (Yonhap) -- South Korean big league pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin has earned his second straight Cy Young Award nomination -- this time, in a different league.

Ryu, the Toronto Blue Jays ace, was announced as one of three finalists for the American League (AL) Cy Young Award by the Baseball Writers' Association of American (BBWAA) on Monday (U.S. local time).

In this Getty Images file photo from Sept. 30, 2020, Ryu Hyun-jin of the Toronto Blue Jays pitches against the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 2 of the American League Wild Card series at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Yonhap)

The winner will be announced Nov. 11. The voting was completed at the end of the regular season in late September, and being a finalist means Ryu, who finished fourth in the AL with a 2.69 ERA, ranked in the top three in the voting.

While pitching for the Los Angeles Dodgers last year, Ryu finished second to Jacob deGrom of the New York Mets for the National League Cy Young Award. Ryu was the first South Korean pitcher to even be nominated for the top annual pitching prize.

As a free agent, Ryu signed a four-year, US$80 million deal with the Blue Jays in December to become the highest-paid pitcher in franchise history.

In the truncated, 60-game regular season, Ryu lived up to his big contract as the top-of-the-rotation force that the upstart Blue Jays desperately needed. He shook off a shaky early stretch and finished with a 5-2 record in 12 starts. He recorded 72 strikeouts in 67 innings, and his 9.7 strikeouts per nine innings ratio matched his career high.

The Blue Jays reached the postseason for the first time since 2016 and lost to the Tampa Bay Rays, the eventual AL pennant winners, in the AL Wild Card Series.

In this Associated Press file photo from Sept. 24, 2020, Ryu Hyun-jin of the Toronto Blue Jays pitches against the New York Yankees in the top of the first inning of a Major League Baseball regular season game at Sahlen Field in Buffalo, New York. (Yonhap)

For the Cy Young, Ryu will be up against Shane Bieber of the Cleveland Indians and Kenta Maeda of the Minnesota Twins, his former Dodger teammate.

Bieber is the favorite after capturing the AL Triple Crown with eight wins, a 1.63 ERA and 122 strikeouts. No other AL pitcher even recorded 100 Ks.

Maeda was 6-1 with a 2.7 ERA and had 80 strikeouts in 66 2/3 innings in his first season with the Twins.

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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