Fittest loser
Article updated: 6/6/2012 8:56 PM

Borucki weighs 15th-round selection by Blue Jays

Mundelein’s Ryan Borucki will need to choose between the team that drafted him Tuesday — the Toronto Blue Jays — and the college program that’s already signed him, Iowa.

Mundelein's Ryan Borucki will need to choose between the team that drafted him Tuesday -- the Toronto Blue Jays -- and the college program that's already signed him, Iowa.

 

Gilbert R. BoucherII | Staff Photographer

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By Patricia Babcock McGraw

The dream came true.

Now, it's time for Ryan Borucki to start dealing with reality.

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The 6-foot-4 left-handed pitcher from Mundelein got the thrill of a lifetime Tuesday afternoon when he learned that he had been selected in the Major League Baseball draft. The Toronto Blue Jays selected him in the 15th round with the 475th overall pick.

Borucki, whose pitches have been clocked at 92 mph on the radar gun, had been told by scouts that he could be chosen as early as the fourth or fifth round, so now he must decide if the money he can get at this stage is enough for him to pass up the scholarship that is waiting for him at the University of Iowa.

"I've got to think about what I want to do, if I should go or not," said Borucki, whose dad already went out and got him a Blue Jays hat. "I'm not sure what will happen, but it is definitely a dream come true to hear you've been drafted. I've wanted to get drafted since I was a little kid and it's a cool feeling to know that a Major League team wants you."

Other teams, such as the New York Mets and the Florida Marlins, wanted Borucki, too. Some as early as the third round.

But Borucki, who hurt his arm in March and was entering the draft as a bit of a liability, was asked by those teams if he would be willing to lower his price for a signing bonus. Borucki said no each time, and he figured as the draft rolled on without his name being called that he might not get drafted at all.

"I hadn't heard anything for a while and then I got a couple of texts from my friends saying that they were going to become Blue Jays fans now," Borucki said. "It was funny because I hadn't even heard anything at that point yet. They had been watching the draft and I was just lying in bed. I just figured that after (rejecting) those offers earlier that I wouldn't get drafted. So it was a little bit of a surprise."

Borucki won't be caught off guard for the next phase of this journey. He knows he has two distinct paths he could take, and both seem like pretty good options.

"I think he's in a good situation," Mundelein coach Todd Parola said. "He's either going to go to college and get his education or he's going to be able to start his lifelong dream of playing pro baseball right away."

Representatives from the Blue Jays are planning to come to Borucki's house in Mundelein within the next couple of weeks to see if they can hammer out a deal with him. If they can't, Borucki will head to Iowa, where the coaches have been excited about him for the last two years.

"I think the fact that the Blue Jays are planning on coming out here says that they have a lot of faith in me and they think they might have enough money leftover (after signing higher picks) to sign me," Borucki said. "It would be great because they've been interested in me for a while and they're really good at player development.

"But if we can't work out a deal, then I'll go to Iowa. I'm in a very good position. This is a win-win for me."

For now, and until those negotiations with the Blue Jays begin, Borucki plans to sit back and enjoy some rare free time. It's been a grueling spring.

After throwing a no-hitter against Cary-Grove in March, Borucki experienced pain in his arm and doctors told him that he had a torn ligament in his elbow and would need Tommy John surgery. But as the days turned to weeks, the pain in Borucki's arm somehow vanished and, much to the delight of the scouts, he mounted a bit of a comeback.

Borucki, who had stepped over to first base for much of the season, actually took the mound again and pitched in the postseason for Mundelein, which won 34 games and advanced to the sectional.

"If anything, this whole season showed what a competitor and team player Ryan is," Parola said. "A lot of kids would have had the surgery right away, but Ryan wanted to do whatever he could to keep playing and help the team. He did a great job at first base for us and then it was so great to see him pitching again. I think whatever team he ends up with is going to get a really tough, competitive kid."

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