PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Ryan Borucki had an impressive 2017 season. The left-hander, who turns 24 on March 31, rose through three levels this past year, from Class A Advanced Dunedin, to Double-A New Hampshire and eventually to Triple-A Buffalo. In 27 games, including 26 starts, he posted a 2.93
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Ryan Borucki had an impressive 2017 season. The left-hander, who turns 24 on March 31, rose through three levels this past year, from Class A Advanced Dunedin, to Double-A New Hampshire and eventually to Triple-A Buffalo. In 27 games, including 26 starts, he posted a 2.93 ERA.
"He had a good season. [He's] very talented," said Blue Jays bench coach DeMarlo Hale, the acting manager for Monday's 7-4 loss against the Rays in manager John Gibbons' absence. "He's someone that you definitely got to keep an eye on his development this year. He's climbing his way through the system. So it's very interesting for me as well."
In his first Spring Training start, Borucki went two scoreless, hitless innings, giving up a walk with one strikeout.
Borucki retired the side in order in the first, striking out C.J. Cron to end the inning. In the second, he allowed a one-out walk to Willy Adames. But with the next pitch he got the speedy Mallex Smith to ground into a double play. Borucki threw 20 pitches, 13 for strikes.
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"Really just pound the zone with strikes, attack hitters, get ahead and just make my pitches," Borucki said of his gameplan. "I wanted to make sure I threw a couple sliders. That's what I've been working on. And I feel like I accomplished all of it. Fastball outside. Changeups were working good, and then I got my sliders in. So, yeah, I feel like my plan coming in today [was] accomplished."
Borucki, Toronto's 15th-round pick out of Mundelein High School in Illinois in 2012, missed all of 2013 following Tommy John surgery. He threw a career-high 150 1/3 innings this past season.
"I had a good year, and just moving up three levels, it was a lot of adjusting, really on the fly," he said. "Hopefully I opened some eyes."
Borucki also made some appearances with the big league team in Spring Training 2017. With some young players, there is the worry they may try to do too much, hoping to make a good impression on the Major League staff. For Hale, that is not a worry with Borucki, the Blue Jays' No. 12 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline.
"It depends on the personality but I think that with this kid, he was up a little bit last year, had a little taste, being called up, so I don't think he fits into that category," Hale said. "I think he's pretty mature to know that he's doing things to progress [to a point] where he wants to start his season off on a positive note, enhance his chances of either making the team or getting to the big leagues."
Borucki, who was added to the 40-man roster in the offseason, could be one of the first callups if the Major League staff needs help this season.
Maureen Mullen is a contributor to MLB.com