The Wall-Street Journal called him the ‘Ace’...That’s not a bad way to start your olympic debut, even if it is followed up with “and then got traded”. Happens to the best of us. Joe Ryan arrived in Tokyo just in time to find out that he was part of a trade where Nelson Cruz would be going to Tampa Bay and Ryan would be joining the Twins, a week later his team-mate would be joining him. Joe Ryan wasn’t expecting to wake up in Tokyo and get traded, as much as Twins fans probably didn’t realize that they would be losing Nelson Cruz, a beloved member of the Bomba-Squad. Baseball is a business and as a business that may be getting rid of the DH this was a great trade.
When you go to look up Joe Ryan in Google, all you get is “Silver Medal Pitcher” or “Ace Pitcher of Team USA”, these are all good things if you just acquired said pitcher. I had the privilege of being able to see Ryan at a Durham/Tides game early in July and to say that Durham has some of the best pitching MAY be an understatement. That game was intense and the pitchers were on. Joe Ryan along with his long locks of hair carried the team to a win over the Tides with only one walk and one hit. He has a great command at the mound and control that I only wish some of our minor leaguers had.
Ryan would more than likely be in the majors already had he not had to take 2020 off (luckily he was picked back up). He moved up quickly in 2019 going from single A to double A quickly. In the Olympic game against Japan, he kept them to one run and even though the ultimately lost the game, again Ryan’s command and confidence on the mound kept the game close and within reach. Japan’s pitcher unfortunately was just as good and shut out the United States.
With trades, getting players from the Minors is stressful, you never truly know what you are going to get at that time. Even though it took four years after being drafted in 2014, in 2018 when he finally got his chance to play for TB in a summer series, it was all up from there. He is going to be the pitcher we wanted and thought Berrios was going to be for our team. We have been waiting for an ACE and I think that we will be seeing Ryan in the majors sooner rather than later and what a great day that will be!