The Toronto Blue Jays made a huge push this offseason to not only improve the quality of their starting pitchers but to add depth to the rotation. That move is already paying off as the first Blue Jay to officially hit the shelf has been revealed to be lefty Ryan Borucki.
Borucki, who broke out in 2018 with a solid rookie campaign in the major league, has been diagnosed with tightness in his elbow that was obviously concerning enough to the club for them to get an MRI. Shi Davidi has tweeted that the exam did not reveal any damage to the elbow but any elbow issues are something to worry about.
Borucki currently sits anywhere from fifth to seventh on the Blue Jays’ pitching depth chart with Hyun-Jin Ryu at the top, free agent Tanner Roark, trade acquisition Chase Anderson and returning righty Matt Shoemaker filling out the top four. Following them come a trio of Borucki, Japanese free agent Shun Yamaguchi (who could also play a role in the bullpen) and righty Trent Thornton who was the only pitcher on the Blue Jays to start for the whole season in 2019.
Borucki has had a tough time with injuries over the course of his career. He got off to a difficult start, pitching just four times in his draft year of 2012 and missing all of 2013. Borucki had a solid short season in 2014 with Vancouver and Bluefield but only pitched three times in 2015 as injuries returned. He reestablished himself in 2016, having an outstanding season in Lansing after a rough start in Dunedin and reached Triple-A Buffalo in 2017.
In 2018, Borucki made 17 starts in Toronto with a 3.87 ERA and 1.32 WHIP over 97 2/3 innings, striking out 67 and walking 33. But in 2019, the injury bug returned as he only pitched six games in total all season, including two with the Blue Jays, lasting only 6 2/3 innings and giving up eight earned runs on six 15 hits (including two home runs) with six walks and six strikeouts.
Borucki was coming into to 2020 poised to battle Yamaguchi and Thornton for the fifth spot in the starting rotation but it looks like Borucki will be behind everyone else as he waits for his elbow issues to clear up.
Beyond those three potential starters, the Blue Jays still have Jacob Waguespack, Anthony Kay (another lefty), T.J. Zeuch and Sean Reid-Foley waiting in the wings for a shot while Nate Pearson, the club’s top prospect, is poised to start in Buffalo and will likely join the Blue Jays’ rotation by mid-season.
We wish Borucki a speedy recovery!
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