Photo Credit: Wade Black (flickr)

Toronto Blue Jays’ Ryan Borucki Serving Notice

 

The Toronto Blue Jays promoted lefty, Ryan Borucki, to AA New Hampshire and he is shoving his way into future conversations

 

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The Toronto Blue Jays drafted Ryan Borucki in 2012 in the 15th round. Drafting a kid out of high school means that the organization sees talent, but is willing to work with him on a slow(er) path of development; they don’t expect them to be as polished as college players. Well, if 2017 is any indication, Borucki’s polish seems to be shining rather brightly. He’s healthy and shoving.

 

The left handed pitcher from Illinois has climbed his way to Number 14 on MLB Pipeline’s Blue Jays Top Prospects list. While other arms like Sean Reid-Foley and Conner Greene have seen their stock slow this season, Borucki is turning heads. Check out MLB’s scouting report on the 23 yr old:

 

Borucki has an 88-92 mph fastball that peaks at 94, with late movement that helps him to generate ground balls. His plus changeup plays nicely off of his heater because he throws it with similar arm speed, and it gives him a chance against right-handed hitters. Borucki’s slider is less advanced than his changeup, with varying shape and pace, but it has the potential to be another Major League-average pitch. Despite missing parts of three seasons due to injury, Borucki has never lost his feel for pounding the zone with his entire arsenal.

 

It is not too often that you hear about a prospect coming up that has an average fastball with a nice change up. In a time when baseball demands more heat, Borucki is relying on the use of his change to be effective. And it seems to be working for him lately. Here are the box scores from his 3 starts in AA New Hampshire:

 

 

He’s given up one earned run in 21 innings. His 18 K to 3 BB is nice as well. One thing that may not be getting much attention is just how economical Borucki is being, which is a byproduct of being in the zone. Lasting 7 innings in each start and never throwing more than 93 pitches shows an efficient use of his repertoire.

 

If you’ve been paying attention over the last couple years, this may not really come as a surprise. Borucki lit up the Midwest League last season, going 10-4 with a 2.41 ERA. His 4.12 K/BB rate was impressive, earning him a promotion to Dunedin. After starting this year in the Florida State League, Borucki continued to see success, leading to a promotion to New Hampshire

 

 

Register Pitching
Year Age Tm Lg Lev W L ERA GS IP H ER HR BB SO WHIP SO/W
2016 22 2 Teams 2 Lgs A-A+ 11 8 4.18 26 135.2 145 63 11 38 117 1.349 3.08
2016 22 Dunedin FLOR A+ 1 4 14.40 6 20.0 40 32 10 12 10 2.600 0.83
2016 22 Lansing MIDW A 10 4 2.41 20 115.2 105 31 1 26 107 1.133 4.12
2017 23 2 Teams 2 Lgs A+-AA 7 6 3.03 21 119.0 106 40 5 30 127 1.143 4.23
2017 23 New Hampshire EL AA 1 1 0.43 3 21.0 11 1 0 3 18 0.667 6.00
2017 23 Dunedin FLOR A+ 6 5 3.58 18 98.0 95 39 5 27 109 1.245 4.04
All All All 22 17 3.40 59 323.1 301 122 20 80 313 1.178 3.91
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 8/4/2017.

 

Many have argued that the true litmus test for a prospect is how well they perform in AA. That level tends to come with the most adjustments required of a player. Borucki is off to a flying start in AA, leading many to get very excited about his progression. It is very easy to get caught up in the hype of a hot streak from a prospect. “Call him up!”, “Promote him!” And, with those numbers, why not?

 

Our own minor league guru, Ryan Mueller, had this to say:

 

Borucki is pushing hard to get to Toronto in 17. Innings limit might be the only thing to prevent him from getting there. He had a career high 135 last year. He’s currently sitting at 119 (averaging 7 IP per start in last 7 starts), so he’ll likely be shut down around 170-ish. That would leave him with 7 more starts. I’d rather those starts be in Toronto so I can apologize for calling him a future reliever than have them wasted in New Hampshire

 

That might be getting ahead of things. The organization will likely want to see more from him before making the jump to the big leagues. That said, should he continue August like this, and the Blue Jays fall further out of the playoff race, he could be looking at a September call up. Sliding him into the bullpen in September might be a way to see what he can do at the big league level without adding a large amount of innings on his arm. Joe Biagini was able to make the jump from AA to The Show. That doesn’t mean that Borucki can do it as well, but it reminds that it is possible.

 

Could he be in the conversation for a big league job in 2018? Could he be a lefty out of the ‘pen? Could he even start? This  conversation might be premature, but Borucki is doing his best to make it a very relevant discussion. Should he continue this way, Spring Training will be a very interesting one.

 

Whether we see him in September, or not, the real take away from this is that Borucki is forcing his way into this team’s conversation. After seasons of injury, he is making the most out of being healthy. At 23 yrs old, Borucki is doing exactly what you want from a pitching prospect: he’s shoving. That term refers to how he is throwing and how he is inserting himself into this organization’s future plans.

 

 

 

 

*Featured Image Credit: W Black- JFtC

 

 

 

 

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Shaun Doyle is a long time Blue Jays fan and writer! He decided to put those things together and create Jays From the Couch. Shaun is the host of Jays From the Couch Radio, which is highly ranked in iTunes, and he has appeared on TV and radio spots.

Shaun Doyle

Shaun Doyle is a long time Blue Jays fan and writer! He decided to put those things together and create Jays From the Couch. Shaun is the host of Jays From the Couch Radio, which is highly ranked in iTunes, and he has appeared on TV and radio spots.