Matt Boyd throws a pitch for the Lansing Lugnuts against the Great Lakes Loons on August 10, 2013 in Midland, Michigan. Mandatory Credit: Jay Blue
Ok, Jays fans. This is the last honourable mention that I’m going to do before we end up getting to the real list. I had Boyd as #18 on my list and I think the reason that I was the only one to include him is because I actually saw Boyd pitch. I posted a scouting report on Blue Jays from Away and you should probably go over and read what I had to say. I’ll try to talk about different things here.
Name: Matt Boyd
Position: Left-handed pitcher
Date of Birth: February 2, 1991
Acquired: 6th round of the 2013 draft
Height/Weight: 6’3″/215 lbs
Wow. This guy comes with a heckuva college resume. In his senior year, he was Third Team All-American for Baseball America, Louisville Slugger and Perfect Game. He was a Pac 12 First Team All-Star, two-time Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week. In 2012, he was a Cape Cod League All-Star.
Minor League Stats
Boyd definitely improved his draft position the second time around. Drafted originally in the 13th round of the 2012 draft by the Cincinnati Reds, Boyd went back to school for his senior year at Oregon State. This season, he shone as the staff ace, throwing a whopping 132 2/3 innings with 32 walks and 122 strikeouts. Boyd led the club deep into the College World Series, winning an epic 1-0 game against Indiana on June 19, throwing a four-hit shutout to move on to the next round. The video below will tell you a bit more about the young man from Mercer Island, Washington.
Drafted in the sixth round this year, Boyd was more of a true sixth-rounder for the Blue Jays than last year when they drafted college seniors who were expected to sign cheaply in rounds four through ten in order to allow the Blue Jays to use more of their slot money for guys drafted in the first three rounds. Boyd took home a healthy $75,000 bonus for signing on and took some time off after a long college season. When he reported to Lansing in late July, he began to chew up opposing hitters and made them look silly with his pinpoint control, walking just one batter with 12 strikeouts in 14 innings. He was promoted to Dunedin and made three starts there and got hit harder in ten innings although his strikeout numbers were still very good.
The video above isn’t the best (the classy piano jazz at the beginning excepted) but it does show his mechanics from 2012. From what I can tell, he’s only throwing out of the stretch here but he has an exaggerated a lean back with a high leg kick when he’s pitching out of the windup. Despite the big lean, Boyd actually hides the ball well and shows good balance and athleticism when he gathers at the top of his kick going into the drive forward. While he stays much more upright with a runner on first in order to disguise his good pickoff move, he actually ends up in the same, upright position while striding forward. Boyd’s arm-slot is a high-3/4 giving his pitches some nice life.
I took these photos on August 10 in Midland, Michigan when the Lansing Lugnuts were taking on the Great Lakes Loons. The first one was taken with Boyd pitching out of the windup and you can see the high kick and lean back. The second shows his leg kick out of the stretch. The third shows his arm angle.
What is really impressive about Boyd is his level of maturity in terms of his poise and compete level on the mound as well as his ability to command his pitches. He throws strikes with three pitches that all have about major league average potential if not better. His fastball was a little on the low side when I saw him, sitting around 88 or 89 mph and touching 90. I have been told that his long college season meant that he was running on fumes by the time he got to Lansing and he’s been clocked up to 94 mph. He has good control of the fastball and was able to spot it on the outside corner very well in the start I saw. I also saw a very good, two-plane curveball that, when it’s more consistent, could be a plus pitch for him. I like it when he throws it a little bit harder (at around 75 mph rather than 72 mph) because it’s got more bite. He was fairly confident getting the curveball down into the dirt and didn’t leave it up often. His changeup was another story. It has some very good arm action and fade but he did leave it up too much and I’ve got the feeling that some of his troubles in Dunedin came from a combination of fatigue and not being able to locate down.
2014 Outlook, Risk, ETA
I think that Boyd will be on more people’s radars in 2014, getting more than 24 innings. He is likely going to have a nice fresh arm come spring and start with the Dunedin Blue Jays in 2014. If he can regain some of that velocity that we’ve heard about from his college days and continue to show excellent command of his three pitches, Boyd could easily make it up north to New Hampshire by July. His upside is that of a #4-5 starter but the risk is minimal: a good lefty who can throw in the low-90s can find a job in many major league bullpens. Boyd is, by far, the most polished pitching prospect that the Blue Jays drafted in 2013 and, if he continues to make adjustments and improvements, could be in the major league equation by late 2015.
If you like what you’ve seen by Jay Blue, read his work and listen to his podcast on Blue Jays from Away and follow him on Twitter: @Jaysfromaway.