Ryan Borucki has been a more than pleasant surprise for the Blue Jays this season, and has likely cemented his spot in next year’s rotation with his performance since being promoted.
The starting rotation was supposed to be a strength for the Blue Jays in 2018, but it has been anything but that through two thirds of the calendar. We’ve watched injuries slow down everyone from Marco Estrada, Aaron Sanchez, Marcus Stroman, and Jaime Garcia, and a deadline deal send J.A. Happ to the New York Yankees.
While it’s been a disappointment on the whole, there’s one name who has stood out during his short tenure with the Blue Jays. Ryan Borucki has been the team’s best starter since arriving at the highest level, and Friday night was undoubtedly his best start since joining the big league roster.
He twirled eight innings of four hit ball, allowing just one unearned run, and no walks. He struck out just two Seattle Mariners, but that hardly matters when you’re putting up zeroes the way that the 24 year old did to kickstart the weekend. He was effective and in complete control, something that you don’t usually see from a starter making just his seventh big league start.
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This was hardly his first successful outing though, as evidenced by the nice numbers he put up before the start in Seattle. He entered the game having made six appearances and pitching to a 2.83 ERA through 35 innings. He hadn’t picked up a win just yet, but that was hardly his fault, as the Blue Jays have greatly struggled to score runs while he’s been on the mound. After his latest outing, he’s dropped his ERA down to 2.30, his WHIP to 1.26, and his opponent’s batting average to .254.
The Blue Jays are facing a pretty uncertain future when it comes to their rotation beyond this season. Even recently we’ve watched John Gibbons have to roll out John Axford and Tyler Clippard as “openers” on a bullpen day, necessitated by the injuries and trades from the starting stable. Estrada is due to be a free agent at the end of the season, and it’s hard to imagine the Blue Jays will pick up Jaime Garcia’s option after the disastrous season he’s had in Toronto. It’s also possible that Ross Atkins and Mark Shapiro get an offer they can’t refuse this winter for Stroman or Sanchez, which would thin the herd even further.
One way or another the Blue Jays are going to be in need of starters for next season and beyond, and Borucki is making the most of his audition at the moment. He progressed all the way from High-A ball last season to the hottest Blue Jay starter right now, and has seemingly improved with each promotion.
He’s not expected to keep up this level of production with the Blue Jays, but he doesn’t have to in order to be effective. Right now he’s been one of the most pleasant surprises of the 2018 season, and arguably one of the most exciting reasons to tune in for the remainder of the year. If he can continue to find success, even at a more modest rate, then I would suspect we’ll be seeing him around for quite some time.