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Joe Ryan Is Better Than His Scouting Reports


Joe Ryan came to the Twins organization with plenty of hype. After two starts, it’s clear he belongs in the big leagues, and he is better than his scouting reports.

When the Twins acquired Joe Ryan, there was plenty for the organization to be excited about since he was considered a top-100 prospect. He was an Olympian pitching in the high minors that seemed to be MLB ready. There were some apparent flaws in his minor league scouting reports but those haven't been evident during the tremendous start to his career. Twins Daily's Nash Walker compiled a brief highlight video of Ryan's exceptional introduction to Minnesota, please give it a watch.

Through his first two starts, he has used his fastball 66% of the time. He has recorded five strikeouts with the pitch, and opponents held to a .120 batting average and a .280 slugging percentage. His fastball has played well so far, but he does use it much more than his other pitches.

Underdeveloped Secondary Pitches
One of the other knocks against Ryan was reports that his secondary pitches were underdeveloped because he had been able to rely so much on his fastball. His slider sits in the mid-80s, and it is his best secondary pitch. His curveball and changeup have been used even less often because of when those pitches are needed. 

With no 2020 minor league season, Ryan was able to work at Tampa’s alternate site and instructional league to refine his secondary pitches. His slider was graded as a 55 by MLB Pipeline, and he uses it as a strikeout pitch against right-handed hitters. His changeup is the pitch he tends to use more often against left-handed hitters. Both his changeup and curveball were given a 45 grade.

His slider (14.4%) has been the most used of his secondary pitches through his first two starts. Right-handed batters struggle to pick up the pitch out of his hand, which has resulted in a .111 slugging percentage. Batters have yet to record a hit against his changeup or his curveball. MLB Pipeline said both of those pitches “aren’t quite there yet,” and that doesn’t seem to be the case.

When the Twins traded for Ryan, scouting reports had him as a mid-rotation starter with a chance to make an immediate impact. Fans can now hope that he can be better than those reports and sit near the top of the Twins’ rotation for most of the next decade. 

What are your impressions of Ryan so far? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

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I agree Mike.  It should make the job easier for the Twins FO to go out and sign a SOLID FA SP, TRADE for a SOLID SP and then dumpster dive like they usually do for a "serviceable" vet like a Pineda,  Eduardo Rodriguez or a Dylan Bundy type (maybe Dobnak gets healthy).  We've only seen a couple starts, but I like what I see.  Except for one mistake pitch to the red hot Cubs rookie Schwindel, he's been VERY impressive.  I think his slider is filthy, and as has been mentioned, his arm angle on his fastball makes his 91-94 mph SEEM faster.  There sure is a fair amount of deception to his delivery.  

I hated to see Nellie Cruz go, but I knew he had to be traded.  Not sure what we'll get with Strotman, but Ryan looks like a keeper.  We will also have to wait and see how Balazovic, Duran, Canterino and Winder look this off-season and monitor their health closely.  

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Gotta love Ryan so far as he has been excellent.  But let's not forget he has only started 2 major league games.  That's right 2 games.  Don't you think it's a little premature to pen him in as a top level starter for the next decade?  Give him a chance to be who he is and keep learning before we put him in the hall of Fame.  

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no doubt one of top 5 in rotation next year. BUT.... we need a #1 and # 2 to compete for Division next year. Ober Ryan and Pineda are 3 we can count on.... but there are no 1 and 2 in the organization. gotta go out and buy them

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Whatever Ryan turns out to be (agree the MLB sample size is small, but he has performed at other levels), some of the knocks against him are of the 'so what' variety. Right, he throws a fastball in the low 90s, but plenty of excellent pitchers (Maddux, Buehrle, Greinke) get by/got by in that range. Right, he throws a lot of fastballs - so do Lance Lynn and Jake Odorizzi (also around the same mph and spin rate). He can be an effective MLB pitcher with what he's already got.

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Loved the trade when the Twins made it, like it even more after this young man's first two starts.  If we can get anything out of Strotman, fantastic!

I will repeat something I said yesterday.  I believe the Twins should sign some vet hitter or pitcher on a one year contract every offseason with the expectation that they will trade him to a contender at the deadline.  Won't always get a return this good, but maybe some years we would.  That trade also opens a spot on the roster for a young prospect to break-in with the Twins.

As I read the above, my thoughts were that I treat all these scouting reports with a grain of salt.  Yes, they provide some general information about the player, such as what pitches he throws, etc.  Some one can, and will, correct me if I am wrong, but these scouting reports aren't the internal reports teams have on opposing players they scout (major league and minors) or their internal reports on their own players.  Would put a lot more weight into those versus the ones available to the public.

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He's doing great so far. Hope he continues to have this kind of success. He does still need to keep working on his off-speed stuff, but it does look better than initially advertised, and the curve/change make him more than just a 2-pitch guy. He's definitely had some hard-hit balls and big flies that have landed in gloves already...if a couple of those warning-track flies against Cleveland had gone in the seats we would be talking about him very differently.

But I do think the fastball plays, and getting tape on him isn't necessarily going to fix that for hitters. It's one thing to know a guy has different action on his fastball and still another to hit it. 

I like his command so far (impressive for a rookie), I like how fast he works (not a fan of guys who meditate on the mound, contemplating the universe), and I think if he can keep working on the edges of the zone he'll be very successful. And if he can tick up the comfort level and action on that change? Could be fun.

He's going to have a few bumps. Not going to be shocked at all if he has a blow-up start in Sept, but that won't change my opinion on him: he can start in this league and unless he totally collapses the rest of the way he should be penciled in to the rotation for next year.

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It's pretty clear the Twins are going with a rotation of Dobnak, Ober, Ryan and two free-agent signees next year. Make of that what you will, but it's pretty much set in stone.

We could pump the brakes on Ryan, but the brakes on this Twins team fell off a long time ago. We're almost at the end of the ride, enjoy it for the next 2 weeks.

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Ryan is pitching really well and I think he'll be a solid #4-5 starter with that excellent fastball. I don't think 2 starts is enough to decide pretty much every scout and the Tampa Bay Rays organization misjudged Ryan's stuff.

Andrew Albers' first two starts back in 2013

  • 8.1 innings, 4 hits, 0 runs, 2 Ks
  • 9.0 innings, 2 hits, 0 runs, 2 Ks (a complete game shutout)

 

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3 hours ago, Whitey333 said:

Gotta love Ryan so far as he has been excellent.  But let's not forget he has only started 2 major league games.  That's right 2 games.  Don't you think it's a little premature to pen him in as a top level starter for the next decade?  Give him a chance to be who he is and keep learning before we put him in the hall of Fame.  

We are Twins fans - so why should we wait?  We have been hoping for years and any glimmer of success is so exciting, we have to celebrate it. 

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I am not going to say he is going to be a top of rotation guy based on 2 starts.  Yes, his last start was great, but many guys in MLB history have had at least 1 great start with no-hitters or perfect games and HOF pitchers never had those.  His stuff looks decent, but picking apart Cleveland is not a huge deal, their offense is not good. Lets pump the breaks on him and putting in Ace status.  There is a reason Tampa, who needs to keep pitching pipeline depth, was willing to give him up for a rental player.  Maybe Tampa was missing something, but they normally do well in their decisions. 

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1 hour ago, Dodecahedron said:

I don't get the skepticism.  The pitcher he reminds me the most of is Frank Viola.  I have no idea how many pitch types Viola could throw, but it didn't seem like a lot.  

The skepticism comes from his .100 babip despite only inducing 6% soft contact, but giving up 41% hard contact; it is impossible for those 3 numbers to coexist for any sustained period.  The number most likely to change out of those, by far, is the babip, and when it does, he won't be throwing 7 inning one-hitters.  This doesn't mean Ryan's about to turn into Happ or anything, but it also means he's not mutant deGrom either.

I like Joe Ryan, and I'm very optimistic about him--I thought he should have been ranked higher on the Twins prospect list than SWR--but we shouldn't assume that he's ready to be a 10 year starter in the bigs based off of two starts, one of which was mediocre.

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4 hours ago, Whitey333 said:

Gotta love Ryan so far as he has been excellent.  But let's not forget he has only started 2 major league games.  That's right 2 games.  Don't you think it's a little premature to pen him in as a top level starter for the next decade?  Give him a chance to be who he is and keep learning before we put him in the hall of Fame.  

He's using an unusual fastball delivery to get good results. Eventually big league hitters will adjust and he'll need to use his secondary pitches.

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the headline and the last paragraph don't go very well together.....he still looks like possibly a mid-rotation starter. Frankly, I doubt ANY scouting reports had him that good.....so maybe the headline is right, but the last paragraph isn't...

I think he's a 4, that will sometimes pitch like a 3. That's a good pitcher. 2 WAR a year, give or take. It was a GREAT trade. 

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22 minutes ago, Cap'n Piranha said:

The skepticism comes from his .100 babip despite only inducing 6% soft contact, but giving up 41% hard contact; it is impossible for those 3 numbers to coexist for any sustained period.  The number most likely to change out of those, by far, is the babip, and when it does, he won't be throwing 7 inning one-hitters.  This doesn't mean Ryan's about to turn into Happ or anything, but it also means he's not mutant deGrom either.

I like Joe Ryan, and I'm very optimistic about him--I thought he should have been ranked higher on the Twins prospect list than SWR--but we shouldn't assume that he's ready to be a 10 year starter in the bigs based off of two starts, one of which was mediocre.

Viola threw his share of klunkers when he was playing.  As you say, there is little to go on, so there's no good reason to be skeptical.

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I pegged that Ryan would be an okay starter, but that he would eventually suit out as a closer. Works fast, nice mix, will challenge hitters. Have to see how the buzz and video follows him as he works thru the lineup multiple times. Can he do it consistently? I say, go for the rotation as loooong as you can. But he is an arm that should have a solid career in the major leagues.

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I think Mike and Bean are about right. He's a real ML quality pitcher, which is in tragically short supply around here. He'll have some great games and some duds. He's not as good as Berrios but in his career season, he could be an all-star. COVID pushed back his debut so that's a big problem, he's still got to go through the ups and downs of adjusting to the majors. I love that he pitches quickly.

As to how valuable he'll be, I think that depends on the Twins pitching philosophy.  It seems like he could be a 200 inning pitcher but the Twins might want him to be a 130-150 inning pitcher.

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2 hours ago, bean5302 said:

Ryan is pitching really well and I think he'll be a solid #4-5 starter with that excellent fastball. I don't think 2 starts is enough to decide pretty much every scout and the Tampa Bay Rays organization misjudged Ryan's stuff.

Andrew Albers' first two starts back in 2013

  • 8.1 innings, 4 hits, 0 runs, 2 Ks
  • 9.0 innings, 2 hits, 0 runs, 2 Ks (a complete game shutout)

 

I was about to make this comparison.  I think Joe will be a solid member of the rotation.  I just don't want to get too carried away yet.  I can see Ryan in next years rotation.  I look forward to the rest of his starts this year.  

I think Strottman is a potential middle reliever.  He seems hittable in AAA.  But I think he will be fine in shorter stints.  

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I want to see some extended video of him from the other direction.  It's got to be that he's mastered the art of delivering all his pitches from one or maybe two release points?   Not enough to have stuff, you have to have command and also deception.

Twins coaching staff, don't tinker with this guy, in pursuit of one or two additional MPH or spin rates or whatnot, unless you know for sure how to maintain the deception.

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2 hours ago, Dodecahedron said:

Viola threw his share of klunkers when he was playing.  As you say, there is little to go on, so there's no good reason to be skeptical.

The fact there is little to go on is exactly why we should be skeptical.

On a completely different subject, I have this really awesome stock tip.  The company was just founded last year, and grew 1,000% this year!  If you send me some money, I'll invest it for you--I know that's only a little to go on, but that obviously means there's no good reason to be skeptical!

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6 minutes ago, Cap'n Piranha said:

 

On a completely different subject, I have this really awesome stock tip.  The company was just founded last year, and grew 1,000% this year!  If you send me some money, I'll invest it for you--I know that's only a little to go on, but that obviously means there's no good reason to be skeptical!

There's a different thread for stock tips!

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50 minutes ago, Cap'n Piranha said:

The fact there is little to go on is exactly why we should be skeptical.

On a completely different subject, I have this really awesome stock tip.  The company was just founded last year, and grew 1,000% this year!  If you send me some money, I'll invest it for you--I know that's only a little to go on, but that obviously means there's no good reason to be skeptical!

Meh.  If anyone were saying he is the second coming of Cy Young, there is reason to be skeptical.

People are merely saying the dude can pitch.  You're actually skeptical of that?

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29 minutes ago, Dodecahedron said:

Meh.  If anyone were saying he is the second coming of Cy Young, there is reason to be skeptical.

People are merely saying the dude can pitch.  You're actually skeptical of that?

Not skeptical at all that he can pitch--as I pointed out, I would have put him above SWR in Twins prospect rankings, i.e. a Top 5 prospect.  I'm skeptical that a guy with two career starts (one of which was mediocre) and a massively unsustainable babip is going to pitch in the majors for the next 10 years.  If you're not skeptical of the certainty of Joe Ryan's 10 year career in the bigs right now, then you're drinking some real strong kool-aid.

I hope Ryan builds on this.  I hope he is a cornerstone of the Twins rotation for the next decade.  Even bound that, I would love it if someday his number was retired.  But if Joe Ryan continues to induce little soft contact (he's at 6%, the league is 16%) and lots of hard contact (he's at 41%, the league is at 32%), he will be out of the league in the next 2-4 years.  I believe he can improve on that, which is why I am optimistic about him in the rotation next year.  That said, assuming he pitches every 5 days, his next 3 starts will be @NYY, @TOR, TOR.  If he's still performing after those 3, I'll be MUCH less skeptical.

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The premise of this post/article/whatever-you-call-it is that Joe Ryan's scouting reports were wrong about how good 2 of his pitches were. The author states that the scouting reports are wrong and he's basing it on 34 combined changeup and curveballs between 2 starts. For that matter he's only thrown 25 sliders. Suggesting that dozens of people who scout pitchers for a living have misjudged the hundreds of curves and changes they've seen him throw because his first 34 in the majors went well is absurd. Click-bate headline without any real substance. But has produced some solid conversation on Ryan and potential. If Ryan is going to be as good as some people think the Twins should be in great shape pitching wise if 1/3 of their other prospects hit their ceilings. Brighter days on the horizon?

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