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LHP Ryan Borucki Rebounding in Lansing

Lefty Improves in Lansing

LHP Ryan Borucki Rebounding in Lansing

July 12, 2016

Ryan Borucki is having a great season in Lansing after a slow start in high-A.

Ryan Borucki is having a great season in Lansing after a slow start in high-A. (MLB.com)


Minor leaguers never want to take a step back in their professional development. But sometimes these things happen and although the idea of going back a level isn’t ideal it can sometimes work out to be a blessing in disguise.

That’s exactly what happened for left-handed pitching prospect Ryan Borucki when he was assigned to the Lansing Lugnuts in May. Joining the club after a stint with the high-A Dunedin Blue Jays that didn’t go as planned; the organization decided to take a different approach with the young pitcher as they’re hoping to get Borucki over the 100 inning mark for the first time in his career.

While this would be discouraging to some, Borucki is viewing it more as a learning experience of what he needs to improve on before facing Florida State League hitters again.

“The hitters in the Florida State League are a lot smarter and more selective,” explained Borucki. “I feel they were more balanced and did a better job at not swinging at bad pitches. I had a problem with leaving the ball up down there and they make you pay for it. I noticed the game was faster. It’s like anything else in life you move up a level and everything gets faster and better. It was basically a learning experience for me. I’m still learning how to pitch, find my mechanics, and coming down here has been a big confidence boost for me.”

The move down to low-A ball has done wonders for Borucki in terms of finding consistency on the mound. Currently sporting 60 strikeouts in 68 2/3 innings pitched; Borucki has lowered his WHIP to 1.14 in the Midwest League compared to 2.60 in the Florida State League.

Commanding his mid-90’s fastball has been a major contributor to his turnaround. Having some issues doing that earlier this season, Borucki has been able to iron out the problems he had with elevating the pitch.

The increase in fastball command has opened up Borucki’s entire repertoire. Being able to mix in his plus changeup and developing slider has made the prospect that much better in Lansing.

“My fastball command has been a lot better,” said Borucki. “When my fastball is going I can work in my changeup which I feel is my best pitch. When I can get my changeup over it makes my fastball that much better. I’m always trying to keep hitters off-balance and have success.”

“My slider is coming along,” Borucki added. “I need to work on getting more velocity on the pitch. It’s not like my changeup and fastball which I’m comfortable throwing in any count. With the slider I need to be a little more selective. I use it the most in strikeout situations, but I hope to be able to throw it in any count soon.”

His feel for the changeup is a major reason why the Blue Jays were high on Borucki. Known as a pitch that’s usually developed later in the process, Borucki admits that his changeup was the pitch he relied on most for success in amateur baseball.

“When I came into professional baseball all I threw was a fastball and a changeup,” explained Borucki. “I didn’t have a feel for a curve. I actually pitched backwards in high school. I would throw a lot of changeups and junk early before I’d show my fastball. I went through a huge growth spurt in high school and now that I have the fastball I have now I’m trying to learn to throw it more than my changeup. They weaned me back from using it too much. But I’m still able to use it effectively in certain counts.”

Having the benefit of starting over with a clean slate in low-A ball is what Lansing Lugnuts pitching coach Jeff Ware believes is helping Borucki piece together a solid season.

“Ryan just needs to establish his fastball and pitch off his fastball,” stated Ware. “I think Ryan lost a little confidence in Dunedin. I think being sent down gave him an opportunity to get refreshed. He was able to start again with a zero ERA and it took the pressure off of him. He’s been doing a fantastic job for us in Lansing.”

With the way Borucki has rebounded in the Midwest League there’s no question why he’s viewed as one of the Blue Jays top pitching prospects. If he can continue to command the fastball the way he has as a member of the Lansing Lugnuts rotation another shot in high-A won’t be too far away.

But until that day comes Ryan Borucki is happy to be having success on the mound once again.