Toronto Blue Jays 2017 top prospects: #16, LHP Ryan Borucki

Oct 4, 2015; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays hat and glove lay in the dugout against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 4, 2015; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays hat and glove lay in the dugout against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

Ryan Borucki has an opportunity to move quickly after being added to the Toronto Blue Jays’ 40-man roster

The Blue Jays gave left-hander Ryan Borucki a vote of confidence this off-season, adding him to their 40-man roster to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft.

Doing so was a compliment to Borucki’s talent and upside, both of which leave scouts optimistic despite the injuries he has battled in his young career.

After being selected in the 15th round of the 2012 draft, Borucki required Tommy John surgery and missed the entire 2013 season. He returned in 2014 and was very effective, but managed just a handful of appearances in 2015 as he dealt with elbow and shoulder issues.

Name: Ryan Borucki
Position: LHP        Age: 22
Height: 6’4”    Age: 175 lbs.
Throws: Left            Bats: Left
Acquired: 15th round pick (2012)

Borucki’s 2016 season was a mixed bag, but it trended in the right direction. After six very tough outings with high-A Dunedin, Borucki returned to single-A Lansing and fully re-established his prospect value.

His time in Dunedin — if you’re feeling generous — can be dismissed as rust given that his control was lacking and he allowed home runs at a rate completely outside of his career norms (10 in just 20.0 innings).

The 20 starts in Lansing represent not just quality pitching, but also quantity.  Borucki carried a very heavy load, racking up 135.2 total innings. After allowing 10 deep flies in 20 innings with Dunedin, he allowed just one in 115.2 with Lansing. Borucki’s control was on display, too, walking just 2.0 batters per nine innings. That will be one of his most valuable tools as he moves through the system, and is typically something that young lefties struggle with returning from multiple injuries. In that area, he’s ahead of the curve.

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Through four seasons, Borucki is consistent pitcher with inconsistent health. There is ample reason to believe that those set-backs are behind him, however, leaving Borucki loaded up for a very quick rise.

Borucki’s changeup might be the best you see in the entire Blue Jays system. In a prospect world of velocity, velocity, and more velocity, having a changeup like Borucki’s will set him apart.

The deception of Borucki’s changeup is further aided by the natural deception in his delivery. Keep an eye on his left hand during his delivery, specifically how long it stays hidden behind his plant leg (left leg) and the quick whip through his release. The hitter sees the ball for a very short amount of time before it leaves the hand (with this, a 91 MPH fastball can look closer to 93).

Borucki’s 40-man addition garnered him some buzz for fast-track bullpen consideration, but his overall profile is best served in a starting role until proven otherwise. Long term, his ideal projection is that of a sure-and-steady MLB starter (4th or 5th), but his max ceiling can be higher.

As top arms like Sean Reid-Foley and Conner Greene attack the double-A level with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats this season, Borucki seems likely to open to open the year back with high-A Dunedin. Once he tames that beast, a New Hampshire promotion could happen in-season.

Next: Blue Jays notes on Petit, Graterol, Saltalamacchia

Top-30 Blue Jays prospect rankings:
#30: RHP Jordan Romano     #29: RHP Yennsy Diaz     #28: CF Reggie Pruitt
#27: 1B Ryan McBroom     #26: CF Roemon Fields     #25: 2B Cavan Biggio
#24: RHP Jose Espada     #23: RHP Patrick Murphy     #22: C Danny Jansen
#21: OF Dwight Smith Jr.     #20: RHP Zach Jackson     #19: RHP Francisco Rios
#18: OF Harold Ramirez     #17: C Max Pentecost