Although the Cubs have yet to have a positive COVID-19 test among their players, they actually do have a player missing from camp because of the testing protocols.
Reliever Kyle Ryan is not yet at Wrigley Field, though the precise reason is unclear:
LHP Kyle Ryan in “Process based delay” getting to camp relatated to “technicalities” of testing/safety protocol.
(Not believed to be a positive test)
— Gordon Wittenmyer (@GDubCub) July 6, 2020
Cubs manager David Ross says one player, Kyle Ryan, has been delayed in getting full clearance for Wrigley training camp. Ryan's still throwing and expected to join the team this week. So far, a source says the Cubs have had no positive COVID-19 tests during the entry process.
— Patrick Mooney (@PJ_Mooney) July 6, 2020
Since players were to receive intake tests upon arrival – and Ryan has not yet arrived – it would have to be something else related to the protocol that is keeping him out. It could be a contact tracing situation, a quarantine situation, or something else. I’m not super inclined to speculate on something like this, and will instead focus on the fact that he is throwing, but he’s not in camp yet.
Ryan, 28, was a breakout success for the Cubs last year as a lefty reliever after the organization spent the year prior working with him to optimize his performance. He is one of the biggest Pitch Lab success stories so far, and is expected to be an important part of the bullpen again this year.
It’s worth noting that, given the emergence of the three-batter-minimum rule, some of Ryan’s value might be muted slightly. To be sure, he was not a LOOGY last year, and was a full-inning-plus guy. But he did have pretty dramatic splits, owning lefties to the tune of an embarrassing .226/.291/.280 slash line, and holding righties to a more league-average-like .256/.353/.383 line. You won’t have quite as much play in how you deploy him this year, and moreover, you can expect opponents to more aggressively structure their lineups to be L-R-L-R-style. Ryan faced 103 lefties last year and 157 righties. That balance probably gets a little more skewed this year and beyond.