It has been a frustrating 2021 season for the Minnesota Twins.
The club entered the year with hopes of challenging for a playoff bid, but it quickly became clear that contending wasn’t in the cards for Minnesota this year.
Once that was evident, the team decided to punt on its season at the trade deadline.
A deadline sell is often the last thing fans want to see.
However, it’s usually the best long-term decision a struggling team can make.
And in the Twins’ case, their 2021 deadline sell is already paying dividends.
Joe Ryan was one of the many youngsters the Twins added during their deadline sell, and he looks like he could be the next big thing for the organization.
Here’s what you need to know.
Where Did Ryan Come From?
The Twins acquired Ryan from the Tampa Bay Rays in a four-player trade on July 22.
#MNTwins complete trade with Tampa Bay Rays.
Club acquires right-handed minor league pitchers Joe Ryan and Drew Strotman, in exchange for designated hitter Nelson Cruz and right-handed minor league pitcher Calvin Faucher.
— Minnesota Twins (@Twins) July 22, 2021
In retrospect, it certainly seems like Minnesota shipped Cruz off at the right time.
After posting a .907 OPS with the Twins over 85 games this season, Cruz has a mere .770 OPS over 46 games with the Rays.
The seven-time All-Star is a free agent after the season ends anyway, so Minnesota really had no business holding onto him for the remainder of the year.
Given that, the Twins did exceptionally well getting a solid return for the 41-year-old.
Mostly, we’re talking about Ryan.
On the day the deal went down, Ryan was regarded as the most notable piece in Minnesota’s haul, and that remains the case today.
The 25-year-old has tons of promise, and he’s starting to show it at the MLB level.
He Is Off To A Very Hot Start In The Big Leagues
Ryan made his MLB debut with the Twins at the beginning of September, and he has been with the big-league club since.
Upon his call-up, fans were excited to see the righty on a professional mound, and he has certainly lived up to the hype so far.
Over three MLB starts, Ryan has a 2.12 ERA, 3.40 FIP, and 0.53 WHIP.
He has been utterly dominant, and teams in the AL Central are surely starting to take notice of him.
He hasn’t allowed more than three hits in any of his starts to this point.
Today, #MNTwins rookie Joe Ryan became the 9th pitcher in AL/NL history since at least 1901 to throw at least 5 innings and allow no more than 3 hits in each of his first 3 career appearances.
— Do-Hyoung Park (@dohyoungpark) September 15, 2021
Additionally, all of his outings have been pretty efficient from a pitch count standpoint.
That’s often a struggle for young players, but it hasn’t been an issue at all for Ryan.
Joe Ryan, Nasty 81mph Slider. 😨 pic.twitter.com/QQX3lLoGg9
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) September 14, 2021
His most impressive start so far came against the Cleveland Indians on September 8.
In that outing, he tossed seven innings of shutout ball and allowed just one hit.
He didn’t walk anybody, he fanned five, and he needed just 85 pitches to do it all.
He got his first MLB win in that game.
Nearly pitch perfect. 👏👏👏
Joe Ryan, ❗️ in his 2nd MLB start ❗️:
7 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K
— Minnesota Twins (@Twins) September 9, 2021
It’s probably worth noting that the former seventh-round pick has had the luxury of facing some weak opponents (the Indians twice and Chicago Cubs once), but at the end of the day, MLB competition is MLB competition.
He’s getting the job done, and that’s all you can ask of him.
We’ll get our next look at the rising star on Wednesday night.
He’s set to get the ball for the Twins as they wrap up a quick two-game set against the Chicago Cubs.
If Ryan’s torrid start continues, fans will want to buy his stock before it’s too late.