Where will Matt Boyd land in 2015?
To say that Matt Boyd dominated during his time with the Dunedin Blue Jays would be an understatement of epic proportions. To say that he mostly struggled during his time with the New Hampshire FisherCats may also be understating the obvious.
Let me give you an idea how Boyd’s season went. He spent the first month of the season with Dunedin and finished it with a 4-0 0.29 ERA. That was good enough to earn a promotion to New Hampshire; unfortunately, he struggled in May and finished the by being demoted back to Dunedin. He would spend June with the D-Jays before earn a second promotion to New Hampshire. He would make 4 July starts for the FisherCats and finished the month with a 1-2, 5.57ERA. He would finish the season back in Dunedin, finishing August with a 0-1, 2.45ERA.
Where does this leave him going into 2015? Did 2014 show that Boyd is a really good Florida State League pitcher but can’t handle Double-A competition?
Matt Boyd‘s career numbers
Entering his third season, the 24 year old has yet to make an appearance on our Jays Journal Top Prospect lists despite demonstrating impressive control and an ability to rack up the strike outs. When the Blue Jays farm system was weak and pathetic, Boyd would have ranked higher, much higher. Boyd is kinda an after thought with so many high ceiling prospects in the system like Aaron Sanchez, Daniel Norris, Roberto Osuna, Miguel Castro, and a bunch of other guys that you can check out here.
What will 2015 bring for the Washington State native?
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I have high expectations for Boyd in 2015. Despite not having any luck in Double-A he was still able to post a 3.94 FIP and strike out 9.28 batters per 9 innings. He’s a smart pitcher who throws first high 80’s fastball, his mid-70’s circle change, and his low 70’s curve consistently for strikes and there is always room on the roster for control pitchers….especially LH control pitchers.
Boyd will likely start the year at Double-A and he’ll have something to prove. If he learned from the butt kicking he consistently received last year at this level, I expect Boyd to put up similar numbers to his D-Jays numbers. He’ll need to if he wishes to have any hopes reaching the majors as a starter.
Like with most College draft picks, Boyd doesn’t have the luxury of time. He can’t afford to spend a year at each level trying to figure things out, the learning curve is different for College picks….or does he?
In 2014, we saw several pitchers become impact starters with their respective teams, despite being above 25 years old. Most people I talk to begin to write prospects off if they haven’t reached the majors by their 25th birthday. I am not one of those guys. I will admit that most college draft picks lack the upside of a raw high school draft pick. After all, if they showed enough promise they would have been selected in high school….most of the time this true, but there are exceptions.
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Not all things are created equal. Not all ball players follow the same developmental path. I feel that Matt Boyd will follow the path similar to that of Arizona Diamondbacks RHP Chase Anderson, who made his major league debute 5 years after being drafted out of the University of Oklahoma. Chase Anderson had a lot more pre-draft hype and was drafted twice before, but his path to the majors was not a quick one. He was 26 years old when he finally got the call.
Being that he is 24 and he’s capable of throwing roughly 170 innings this coming season, the Blue Jays brass will continue to be aggressive with Boyd. If he pitches well for Bobby Meacham and Bob Stanley, than he could very well end up being this year’s Kendall Graveman.
In order for this to happen he will need to increase his groundball rate and stop allowing far too many flyball outs. Last season, his GO to AO ratio hovered around 1:1 and that is where many of his Double-A struggles originated from.
With the D-Jays, Boyd allowed 6.5 hits/9 and 0.4 HR/9, but with NH these numbers increased to 11.6 hits/9 and 1.1 HR/9. All this while maintaining similar K/9 and BB/9. If he can keep the ball on the ground, I expect less hits/9; therefore, less HR/9 and longer outings.
Scott Copeland and Casey Lawrence should be moving up a level and solidify the back end of the Bisons rotation which should consists of Liam Hendriks, Rickey Romero (one more year), and possibly one or both of Sanchez and Norris. That means Boyd will be called upon to anchor NH’s rotation along with Taylor Cole, and Ben White. Roberto Osuna and Miguel Castro are likely going to receive aggressive assignments this year and fill the last 2 spots. That is a decent rotation. One that hold great promise for the future of the Blue Jays. Osuna and Castro are potential top of the rotation arms. Cole and Boyd have the skills to become middle/back of the rotation starters. Ben White is an innings eater and likely will be a career minor leaguer.
Matt Boyd doesn’t possess an overpowering fastball like Aaron Snachez or a knee buckling curve like Daniel Norris (although it ain’t a bad curve). He doesn’t have any noticeable splits when facing LHB and RHB. His best assets are his ability to hide the ball, his pinpoint control of his fastball and poise….oh, and it doesn’t hurt that he’s a LHP and everyone knows that LHP who can spot the fastball will be plenty of opportunities to win a job….just look at Brad Mills. All this points to a guy that can be expected to challenge for the 5th spot on most teams and possibly the 4th spot on a bad team. Worse case scenario would see him relegated to the bullpen