Blue Jays: Ryan Borucki and his path to the major leagues
Heading into the 2019 season, Ryan Borucki spent his first opening day in major league baseball in Dunedin, Florida, recovering from an elbow injury. This article will take an in-depth look into how Borucki became a fan favourite with the Toronto Blue Jays faithful and what his role will be on the team this season and beyond.
Hailing from Mundelein, Illinois, Ryan Borucki has already made a name for himself with the Blue Jays fanbase at just 25 years old.
As a high school senior, Ryan was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 15th round of the 2012 amateur draft. He signed with the team and began his first professional season with the Gulf Coast Blue Jays of the Rookie league later that year. He pitched to a 1-0 record and 3.00 ERA in six innings before undergoing Tommy John surgery. This injury would cause him to miss the entire 2013 season, and was a major setback in his professional career, given the recent draft the same year.
Ryan Borucki would return to 2014 with stops along the way in Vancouver (Short Season-A), Bluefield (Rookie Advanced), Lansing (A), and Dunedin (Advanced-A) before making his first start with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats in July of 2017.
He would pitch in almost every farm team in the Blue Jays system, and even saw a demotion in 2016 when he started the year poorly with the Dunedin Blue Jays with an ERA of 14.40.
Borucki would see his first AAA action in 2018, throwing a respectful 6-5 record and 3.27 ERA. He would start 13 games for the Bisons and would pitch 6+ innings 8 times throughout the shortened season. He also gave up 4+ earned runs in only 3 games he started, and there were 3 games where he gave up 0 earned runs while pitching at least 7 innings.
Needless to say, when the injuries started to occur to the major league rotation in 2018, Borucki’s name was one of the first to be called.
Ryan Borucki’s first win would be a roughly one month later on August 3rd, 2018 against the Seattle Mariners in Seattle. He would pitch 8 strong innings, giving up 0 earned runs and striking out 2 with no walks.
In the end, Borucki would pitch very well in his rookie season for a team that traded away some core players at the deadline and limped into September. His final line would be a 4-6 record, with 17 games started, a 3.87 ERA and 67 strikeouts with 33 walks.
While his rookie record was under the .500 mark, part of the reason was he did not have run support. Out of the 17 games he started, the Blue Jays batters failed to bring in more than 4 runs 11 times. Considering Borucki started against playoff-bound teams like the Yankees, Red Sox, and Astros, he needed the run support to win games and he rarely got it.
Coming into 2019, Ryan Borucki was competing for the 5th spot in the rotation against a slew of other starters like Clayton Richard, Thomas Pannone, Sam Gaviglio and late addition Clay Buchholz. As the spring wore on, Borucki was informed he had made the team and the 5th spot in the rotation was most likely his.
And then came the elbow discomfort.
When the 2019 season began, Ryan Borucki was still in Florida, rehabbing his elbow. At first, fans were worried it was the dreaded TMJ surgery. Later reports would indicate that the elbow injury was nothing more serious than inflammation and that some more time spent rehabbing would bring him back stronger. This was a sigh of relief for a young pitcher who already has gone through one TMJ surgery, and another surgery would be a tough injury to come back from in such an early career.
Borucki should return to the Blue Jays around mid to late April, and when he does he will most likely slide back into the rotation.
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I believe this would be the best scenario for the Blue Jays, as Borucki had a good year as a rookie and his second year will be a good evaluation towards the long term goals for the team. This would move Richard back to the 5th spot or the bullpen if Buchholz claims the last rotation spot when he comes back.
I also think it is especially important to keep Borucki in the rotation because of the trade value surrounding Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez. Both pitchers could possibly be moved later this year, and Borucki may be a key piece of the rotation for the next few years.
If you compared the three pitchers, I do believe that Sanchez and Stroman are overall better pitchers, but Borucki will fit in well with the team as a 3-5 starter. If he can carve up innings and pitch around a 3-4 ERA, he will have a solid career in the starting rotation in the major leagues and with the Toronto Blue Jays.
He will have a more difficult season compared to last year as teams will have more video and analysis on the pitcher, but this season will be a good test for the young pitcher. He will most likely be with his old battery mate in Danny Jansen, and this could be a positive influence for the pitcher as well.
If this team really is in rebuild mode (and with the recent trades, this seems almost certain), then let Borucki start as many games as he can this year. He does not become free agent eligible until 2025, and those years of control will be critical to the team for rebuilding purposes.
I try not to get ahead of myself when it comes to prospect pitchers because they can fluctuate when it comes to good years and bad years (example: Ricky Romero). If Ryan Borucki pitched on a team with below average batters and a young core to a sub 4.00 ERA, I can’t wait to see when he plays with a team fielding Vladimir Guerrero Jr, Bo Bichette, and Rowdy Tellez in the batting order.
Ryan Borucki worked hard to become a major league pitcher, advancing through every level of the farm system in the Blue Jays organization. If his rookie season is any indication for his future career, the Blue Jays may have gotten a star from the 15th round.