Minnesota Twins: The blueprint for Joe Ryan to Dominate Moving Forward

Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Joe Ryan pitches against the Kansas City Royals. (Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports)
Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Joe Ryan pitches against the Kansas City Royals. (Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports) /

It’s been a great stretch of games for Minnesota Twins starter Joe Ryan, who has pitched 14.2 scoreless innings in a row, allowing only three hits over the span. The first 7 and 1/3 innings involved no-hitting the Kansas City Royals.

Against Cleveland, a team that had been destroying the Twins, he stopped the bleeding with a strong start, saving his team from losing five straight to the Guardians. In the process, he helped maintained a semblance of dignity for the team.

During this recent streak, Ryan has worked his secondary pitches to much greater affect. Against the Royals, he used his curveball twenty-two times, a monumental increase. Prior to that start, only seven percent of his pitches have been curveballs.  I’d be surprised if Ryan had thrown his curve more ten times in five of his starts this year.

Finding a blueprint for Joe Ryan’s future success as a Minnesota Twins starter.

Against the Cleveland Guardians, Ryan returned to using his slider for most of his breaking pitches. The pitch had more late life then I am used to seeing from the righty, and while it still wasn’t consistent enough, but he did throw some great ones. Joe made Ahmed Rosario look goofy, striking him out with a slider up.

Truly it surprised me how much better his secondaries looked. Compared to even a few weeks ago, Ryan’s repertoire looks much improved (credit to Pete Maki and his staff). My guy Joe was bombing curves and snapping sliders, you love to see it, and it’s great for the Minnesota Twins too.

If his new acumen and confidence with the curveball and slider are legitimate, it’s a massive boon for Ryan, his offseason, and the improvements he can make. It also created a bit of a blueprint for his continued development.

It’s been his lack of options, outside of the fastball, that has doomed Ryan against better teams, as he would get hit around because they stayed staunch. The Dodgers, for example, refused to even sniff anything but a fastball. When his command wavered, the ball began leaking into the heart of the plate, and Los Angeles punished the ball.

The average exit velocity of the nine hits they had against Ryan was 99.3 MPH (the MLB average is eighty-seven). Ryan didn’t have the stuff to expand the strike zone. He was forced to pitch to terms dictated by the offense. It’s unfortunate, as Ryan live and dies by the fastball, but when he deigns to use another pitch, it has been the slider, throwing one every five pitches.

Despite this, it’s his curve, in my opinion, that will be his go-to breaking ball. Looking at the 3D pitch illustrator on Baseball Savant, the curveball, when well controlled, follows the same initial trajectory of the fastball before it falls away. His release point on the pitch is almost identical.

If Ryan can bomb the bottom of the zone with  curveballs, his release point and propensity for attacking the top of the zone, will give hitters that extra second of hesitation. Yes, I can imagine it now, they will synergize excellently. Like cold beer and hot dogs.I didn’t think we would have a chance to see it until next year, but Ryan’s scoreless streak is hopefully a preview of what’s to come.

He pitched excellently and  trusted his full arsenal, reiterating just how good Ryan has been, what a tremendous fastball he has, and that he can not only survive but thrive. Deep into a terrific rookie season, Joe has an ERA in the mid-threes, but if Ryan can develop another pitch, the world will be his oyster.

dark. Next. Matt Wallner called up, Former Top 30 Prospect DFA’d