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Blue Jays Roster Moves: Borucki Up, Urshela DFA

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MLB: Spring Training-Baltimore Orioles at Toronto Blue Jays Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

We knew this was coming.

The Blue Jays have officially called up Ryan Borucki to make tonight’s start. Borucki was number 6 on our 2018 Top 40 Prospects List. Pitching in Buffalo, he has a 6-5 record, 3.27 ERA in 13 starts. In 77 innings he’s allowed 62 hits, 28 walks and 58 strikeouts. He’s a big lefty, 6’4”. Ryan threw a complete game shut out in his last start (7 innings), allowing 3 hits, 1 walks with 4 strikeouts.

From Matt’s write up in the Prospects post:

In a year of disappointing seasons for top pitching prospects, Borucki was the notable exception as he aced two levels to finish 2017 three rungs up from where he finished 2016, and on the cusp of the big leagues. Statistically, he did everything one could want, posted a 2.93 ERA in 150.1 inning across the three levels, striking out over a batter an inning while limiting free passes, and managing contact.

Despite all that, Borucki is flying somewhat under the radar, at least from a “national” perspective, as his name has not shown up on any major top 100 lists. But consider, a lefty who: finished the season in AAA, sits comfortably in the low/mid 90s with his fastball and will tickle 96-97 from time to time, has a plus secondary in his change-up and at least a usable breaking ball (that gets a fair amount of swings and misses), and who throws strikes. At the end of the day top 100 lists don’t really matter, but that’s the profile of a potential mid-rotation starter, who could be MLB ready as soon as the second half of 2018. Personally, I’m quite high on him.

Of course, there’s good reason for the maxim that if you want to develop a starting pitcher, draft 10 of them. The biggest risk factor for Borucki is probably health, as his progress over his first four professional seasons was slowed by a variety of injuries, including Tommy John surgery from an injury in his senior year of high school that dropped him down boards and allowed the Jays to take a flyer and sign him in the 15th round with slots savings. But he’s pitched two full, mostly injury free years in a row, and with the exception of April 2016 has always performed well when on the mound.

There’s a lot to like here.

To make room the team has DFAed Gio Urshela. We picked up Urshela in a cash trade from Cleveland, back on May 9th. He played in 19 games, hit .233/.283/.326 in 19 games. He went into last night’s game as a pinch runner, just before Grichuk’s home run. I’m not surprised that Urshela was DFAed. If Josh Donaldson is almost ready to come back (a big if), we really wouldn’t have space for Urshela. If Donaldson isn’t read to come back, I think we’d all rather Lourdes Gurriel in Urshela’s spot.


Tonight’s lineup: