It wasn’t pretty at the big league level, but 2017 was a very good year for Blue Jays prospects.
At the forefront of that was a ridiculous season from 2016 second round pick Bo Bichette, who pounded the crap out of two different levels in his first full professional season. Another was a breakout performance from 23-year-old lefty pitcher Ryan Borucki, who made it all the way to Triple-A Buffalo after starting the season in Single-A Dunedin.
As a result, MLB Pipeline has honoured Bichette and Borucki as the Blue Jays’ Minor League Hitter and Pitcher of the Year.
Bichette really was the start of the Blue Jays system this year. The right-handed infielder started the season in Lansing, put up an astonishing 1.182 OPS over 70 games, and was good enough to earn the Midwestern League Most Valuable Player despite being called up to Dunedin after the All-Star break. For the season, between Dunedin and Lansing, Bichette slashed a .361/.423/.565 line with 14 homers. In the process, he became the first teenager to lead the minor leagues in batting since 1963.
Borucki didn’t come into the season with anywhere near the same hype as Bichette, never being ranked in the Blue Jays top 10 prospects. This season, though, the lefty put himself on the map largely due to an excellent performance at Double-A New Hampshire. He started the season in Dunedin, posting a solid 3.58 ERA over 18 starts. He was called up to New Hampshire in the middle of July and dominated. Over seven starts at Double-A, Borucki posted a 1.94 ERA and was ultimately given one start at Triple-A Buffalo to end the season.
Slowly but surely, the Jays are building their farm system back up after Alex Anthopolous sold most of it for 2015’s amazing run into the playoffs. The front office has stated on multiple occasions that a key to success is having a deep system. Performances like we saw from Borucki and Bichette this season are certainly reasons to be excited about the future of the organization.