Los Angeles Dodgers: Hyun-Jin Ryu Deserves Rookie of the Year Consideration

Matthew HernandezContributor IAugust 14, 2013

LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 13:  Hyun-Jin Ryu #99 of the Los Angeles Dodgers throws a pitch against the New York Mets at  Dodger Stadium on August 13, 2013 in Los Ang eles, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Dodgers have a strong candidate for Rookie of the Year on their team, and he may not be the player you expect.  

Although outfielder Yasiel Puig has taken the league by storm since his promotion to the big league club, Hyun-Jin Ryu continues to make a strong case for himself in his first season in the United States.

The Dodgers continued their historic run with a 4-2 victory over the visiting New York Mets on Tuesday.  The left-handed Ryu strengthened his case for National League Rookie of the Year by tossing seven strong innings, allowing just one run en route to his 12th victory of 2013.  

Ryu also lowered his season ERA to 2.91 by out-pitching Mets ace and All-Star starter Matt Harvey.  It was Ryu's fifth consecutive win. 

The victory put the Dodgers at 39-8 in their last 47 games, the best record over that span since the 1951 New York Giants, according to Bill Plunkett of The Orange County Register.  

Pitching in a rotation led by two former Cy Young award winners in Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke and playing on the same team as the electric Puig can make it easy to overlook Ryu.  The South Korean southpaw, however, has put up some numbers that certainly should not be ignored.  

Ryu had high expectations for himself heading into this season. According to ESPN's Mark Saxon, Ryu came into 2013 with the goals of reaching double-digit wins and a 2-point ERA.  

Mission accomplished.

With an impressive record of 12-3 to go along with a 2.91 ERA and 121 strikeouts, Ryu may be a dark horse for the NL Rookie of the Year honors.  Dodgers manager Don Mattingly believes Ryu should be in the conversation.  

"I think he's been underrated," Mattingly said, according to Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times. "I don't hear a lot of people talking about him."

With a rookie class that includes Puig, Jose Fernandez (MIA) and Shelby Miller (STL), just to name a few, it can be easy to see why.  Ryu must continue to pitch well, even better perhaps, if he wants to separate himself from the others.

Ryu has been consistent all year long, though, and he should be poised to finish the season strong as the Dodgers hope to ride their hot play into October.  

Perhaps by the time game No. 162 rolls around, there will be a clear winner for NL Rookie of the Year.

For now, Ryu has done more than enough to earn himself a spot in the conversation.