TORONTO -- The Blue Jays' Minor League system took a big step forward in 2017 and the duo of infielder Bo Bichette and lefty Ryan Borucki are two of the main reasons why.Bichette has been named Toronto's Minor League Hitter of the Year by MLBPipeline.com and Borucki took home the
TORONTO -- The Blue Jays' Minor League system took a big step forward in 2017 and the duo of infielder Bo Bichette and lefty Ryan Borucki are two of the main reasons why.
Bichette has been named Toronto's Minor League Hitter of the Year by MLBPipeline.com and Borucki took home the honors for top pitcher. Each prospect took major strides in 2017 and has been soaring up the charts of the top prospects, not only for Toronto, but all of baseball.
The 19-year-old Bichette hit .362/.423/.565 with 14 home runs, 74 RBIs, 22 stolen bases and 41 doubles at Class A Lansing and Class A Advanced Dunedin this season. Along the way, Bichette became the first teenager to lead the Minor Leagues in batting average since Gil Torres in 1963.
Blue Jays' Prospects of the Year
"I'm not gonna lie, I looked at it a couple of times," Bichette recently told MLB Pipeline when asked about competing for the batting title. "But it wasn't really on my mind. I'm kind of a day-to-day person, so for me it was just going to the field and getting my work done and continuing to play well. That was all I was worried about at the time."
The hitting and pitching prospects of the year were chosen by the MLBPipeline.com staff. To receive consideration, players had to spend at least half the year in the Minors, appeared on the club's Top 30 prospects list and played the entire year in the organization.
Bichette, who is ranked Toronto's No. 2 prospect by MLBPipeline.com, had such a strong run with Lansing that even though he was promoted to Dunedin on July 10, the Florida native still picked up Most Valuable Player honors for the Midwest League. Bichette hit .371 in April, .388 in May and .421 in June for the Lugnuts. He also drew 28 walks and left the league with 32 doubles, three triples and 60 runs scored.
Fellow top prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. joined Bichette in Lansing at the start of the season and also followed him to Dunedin after the All-Star break. They are arguably the best position player duo in any organization and provide a lot of hope for the Blue Jays' future.
"It was an awesome experience to play with him my first year," Bichette said. "To have someone -- I was doing really well, obviously, and to have him kind of right on my tail, right behind me in everything, was good for me, and I think it was good for him, too. We pushed each other, and I think we learned a lot from each other also. So it was really, really a cool experience to play with him all year."
Borucki also had a breakthrough season and pitched at each level of Toronto's Minor League system. He began the year in Dunedin and posted a 3.58 ERA over 19 starts before moving up to Double-A New Hampshire, where he was even better. Borucki posted a 1.94 ERA for the Fisher Cats in seven starts while striking out 42 over 46 1/3 innings and walking just eight. He finished the year with one appearance for Triple-A Buffalo and he's currently ranked as Toronto's No. 13 prospect.
Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.