Looks can be deceiving sometimes. This is the case for our next 2023 Dynasty Baseball Trade Target: Joe Ryan
Some guys just have the natural look of a superstar athlete. For example, 7'4" Victor Wembanyama was absolutely born to be a basketball player. That is an extreme example, but this is true for many athletes. On the opposite side of the coin are guys who look like everyday workers who just happen to be able to throw a fastball 95 miles an hour or shoot the lights out, such as Joe Ryan.
2023 Dynasty Baseball Trade Target: Joe Ryan
Become an All-Access Member to get access to the Most Accurate Fantasy Baseball Rankings, Draft Tools and more.
If you are already a member, sign in.
Most of my entries into this trade targets series are of players who are on the cusp of emerging into a starting worthy player. The players I normally write about are usually not currently performing extremely well in the major leagues, but are on the verge of breaking out.
Joe Ryan does not fit into this category. Ryan has been nothing short of fantastic this season, posting an ERA of 2.25, an ERA+ of 192, and a K/9 of 10.6. Unlike many young strikeout artists, this fantastic K/9 has not come at the expense of a lot of walks. Through Ryan’s 56 innings in 2023, he has racked up 66 punchouts to go against just eight walks.
If you haven’t switched over to quality appearances yet (here’s my in depth piece on why you should ), your league probably uses wins or quality starts for pitchers. These categories are very dependent on innings thrown by a pitcher.
While we are seeing starters pitch fewer and fewer innings each year, (as the average innings per start in 2022 was only 4.72), this isn’t a concern with Ryan. He has averaged over six innings in his nine starts to begin the year. This is an increase over an already impressive 5.45 innings per start Ryan posted in his first full season last year.
One thing that has been on the rise year after year in the MLB has been the average fastball velocity, which is setting annual records for the hardest average velocity. However, both Ryan’s amazing mustache and his fastball velocity are still stuck in the 1980s. Despite this, Ryan has still found a way to be one of the most effective pitchers in baseball.
How is he able to be so effective?
I wouldn’t be much of a baseball nerd turned writer if I didn’t have us take a look at his baseball savant page.
What stands out to me, despite Ryan’s lack of an electric fastball or an absolute wipeout breaking ball, is how much Ryan is able to do with each pitch. Each outing of his reminds me of Christian Javier’s masterful six no hit innings in Game Four of the 2022 World Series.
In this game, Javier was able to miss bats and barrels, racking up nine strikeouts and eliminating solid contact, as he cruised through his outing. Despite throwing 91-93, Christian Javier was able to use his fastball so effectively that he was getting off-balance swings on very hittable pitches. Like Javier, Joe Ryan is able to use his relatively “slow” fastball to great use.
Ryan's Incredible Advanced Stats.
In just nine starts this year, Ryan’s run value on his fastball stands at a -12, among the top in the league. This means that his fastball has prevented 12 runs over average so far this season. Coupled with a splitter with a run value of -5, and the two pitches that Ryan combines to throw 86 percent of the time have a total run value of -17, which is astounding in just 56 innings.
Ryan is able to do this through excellent location. While throwing strikes is one thing, the location of the pitch can’t be considered excellent if it is being left right down the middle every time.
Ryan has shown an ability to both limit the walks (94th percentile in walk percentage), while also rarely getting hit hard, as his barrel percentage is at 90%. This barrel percentage percentile means that he is allowing hitters to barrel up the ball less than 9/10 of the current MLB pitchers in 2023.
This has culminated in Ryan’s barrel/PA being 2.3, which is less than half of the MLB average. This stat is so important for success because luck will even out throughout the year, so the more time a pitcher gets “barreled up” by a batter, the worse he will do. The lack of hard hits given up by Ryan has led to his 97th percentile xERA and xWOBA.
What will you have to give up for Joe Ryan?
As I stated earlier, Ryan’s profile is not like many other players in this series. With my past entries; you could get these players for very cheap. However, not all trades in fantasy sports are cheap ones. Sometimes you have to pay top dollar to get your guy, but Ryan is more than worth it.
While he might look like Tim the UPS driver, Joe Ryan is an amazing pitcher who still has time to improve in just his second full season. If you need a top-tier arm that is still on the rise, look no further than our next
Be sure to continue checking out our phenomenal Fantasy Baseball content!