Two Blue Jays prospects have reported their travel plans that indicate moving up in the Blue Jays system. If you’ve been following this blog for the past couple of seasons, you’ll definitely be excited to hear that both fine young men are getting an opportunity to test their abilities at new levels.
The Blue Jays’ minor leaguer who has been making the most noise (by far) early this season is Matt Boyd. Boyd was the Blue Jays’ sixth round draft pick last year and has done nothing but dominate in professional baseball. Posting an 0.64 ERA and 0.750 WHIP in five Lansing appearances after signing with the Jays out of Oregon State, Boyd made his Dunedin debut at the end of a long season and had great peripheral numbers (three walks and 11 strikeouts in 10 innings) but gave up a pair of home runs that spiked his ERA to 5.40. I saw a particularly dominant outing in Lansing last season and interviewed him for Podcast Episode 15 while I was there.
Boyd went back to Oregon to finish his degree in the offseason and I guess he had a lot of downtime because he really hit the weights, showing a seriously buff physique when I saw him in Dunedin over spring training. He came out of the gate in Dunedin and “shoved” (as some prospect writers might say), compiling a 0.29 ERA with 37 strikeouts and only five walks in 31 innings, culminating in an unbelievable, eight-inning performance in which he struck out 12 and gave up just two hits and no walks on Friday.
Before the season started, Boyd was one of my strongest sleeper prospects in the Blue Jays system. I wrote an “honourable mention” post on him for Jays Journal’s top prospects list. I had him on my list but no one else did but I think that he’s a lot less “under the radar” now. If you want to read my initial scouting report from Lansing last August, you can find it here.
Boyd tweeted this morning that he’s heading to New Hampshire.
New Hampshire Bound!
— Matthew Boyd (@mattboyd31) April 28, 2014
The other young player getting a promotion is first baseman L.B. Dantzler who tweeted about his travel excellence this morning. Hat tip goes to Clint (@StivBators) for asking Dantzler to clarify the destination of his travel!
@StivBators yup, just landed in Dayton.. On the Lugnuts as of today!
— LB Dantzler (@LBDantzler) April 28, 2014
A 2013 14th-round draft pick, Dantzler comes out of another strong US college program at the University of South Carolina. The Gamecocks first baseman had an excellent collegiate career and went on to win the Northwest League MVP trophy last season after a strong year hitting .302/.385/.504 with nine home runs.
Dantzler has been in extended spring training nursing an oblique injury that he told me about after I interviewed him in Dunedin this March. You can find that interview on the Canadian Baseball Network Podcast #46.
I’m interested to see how both do at their new levels. For Boyd, I think he’ll face more patient hitters but I feel like his command and ability to throw strikes with all of his pitches should make for a relatively painless transition to a new level. It’s always tough to predict how players transition to full-season ball. The Midwest League can be tough for players coming from short season leagues as we’ve seen with some of the younger Lansing Lugnuts. Being a college player, Dantzler may very well be able to adjust a little bit easier than the younger guys coming from Bluefield.
There are rumblings of other moves coming and we’ll have them as soon as we can get them for you!
Who are these players? Find out in The 2014 Toronto Blue Jays Minor League Handbook, now available as an ebook at Smashwords.com for $7.99 US. It’s coming soon to Amazon, Apple iBooks, Kobo and other fine retailers. You can purchase and preview the book at our Smashwords.com page! If you like us here,“like” us on Facebook!
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