Saturday, April 26, 2014

Matt Boyd Reconsidered

  When it came time for us to evaluate the Blue Jays farm system in terms of its Top 20 prospects this spring, a name that we missed out on was lefthander Matt Boyd.
   Boyd was the Jays' 6th round choice out of Oregon State last year, and was signed for either $70 000 or $75 000, depending on the source.  A reliever for most of his college career until last year (he was drafted by the Reds in 2012, but opted to return to school), Boyd was assigned to Lansing after signing, and was promoted after only 5 appearances with the Lugnuts to Dunedin.
   The reports on Boyd from Florida were glowing, but his numbers weren't.  Small sample size was the culprit, because Boyd has been absolutely lights out with the D-Jays so far this year, and has caught a heavy dose of helium, rocketing up the list of prospects.
   Boyd spun his latest gem on Friday night, pitching 8 scoreless innings against Clearwater, throwing 85 pitches, and surrendered only two hits, walking none and striking out 12.  At one point, Boyd retired 16 Threshers in a row.  In picking up his fourth win of the season, Boyd lowered his ERA to 0.29 he's given up but one run in 5 starts, covering 30 innings.  He's struck out 37, and allowed only 5 walks.  FSL hitters are managing just a .167 batting average against him.  MLB farm reports has pictorial evidence to demonstrate his domination so far this season:

      Boyd recorded a 90 game score for the night (114 is the maximum).  You can read more about how game score, an invention of the legendary Bill James, is calculated,  here. Boyd told's Kelsie Heneghan that he had all four of his pitches working last night, and gave credit to catcher Derrick Chung and his Dunedin teammates: "Guys behind me are making some great plays, been some key double plays, and great stops.  Defence has been flawless.  They're fun to play in front of."
  Boyd's pitches have been labelled as average as better, and with his 6'3", 215 build, profiles as a mid-rotation innings eater - something the parent club is in desperate need of.
   At 23, Boyd may not be too old for High A ball, but he definitely has been dominant.  Given the struggles of the major league rotation and bullpen, some shuffling with the higher affiliates is likely in the offing in the next few weeks, and if Boyd continues his Florida dominance, a promotion of New Hampshire is almost a foregone conclusion.

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