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Joe Ryan: ROOKIE Opening Day Starter

Chicago Cubs v Minnesota Twins Photo by David Berding/Getty Images

When Ryan was announced as the Opening Day Starter, I was excited…and curious. How often do rookie pitchers start on Opening Day?

  • Baseball-Reference lists three pitchers who have made their debut on Opening Day.
  • TwinkieTown’s own Matt Monitto (via Do-Hyoung Park) revealed that Ryan is one of three pitchers to make an opening day start within the first six games of his career.
  • Through deeper research (thank you Reddit, random guy on the corner, and a deep dive on the interwebs), I found three others who started Opening Day and were listed as rookies.

Full disclosure: this seems like an incredibly small number. If you know of others, mention them in the chat.

Merely out of curiosity, I wanted to take a look at these pitchers…at their rookie seasons as well as their overall careers. So, below, I list the eight rookies: the years they pitched (and total number of years), their ages, their classification (whether they were used as starters or in a hybrid role), and their pre-rookie (if applicable) and rookie seasons, as well as their career averages. Since there were a few injuries and other exceptions, I spliced seasons and statistics to fit my purpose.

No analysis, just a look at a bunch of numbers. Can you make predictions about Joe Ryan’s season or career based on these numbers? Almost certainly not. But it was fun to dive into this elite club and dream of possible comparisons for the Twins newest Opening Day starter.

Discuss below: What are your expectations for Ryan this year? His career? What would be considered a disappointment?

*If you want a deeper analysis of Joe Ryan the pitcher, I highly recommend FanGraphs’ article: Joe Ryan Has Plenty of Margin for Error