Detroit Tigers Player Preview: Matt Boyd
Matt Boyd arrived via trade last season and was put into the rotation. Despite improved pitching depth, the rookie has a chance to make an impact this season.
As the Detroit Tigers went through struggles in the starting rotation, one of the pitchers who was afforded the chance to make an impression was Matt Boyd.
In addition to young players like Daniel Norris, Kyle Ryan, Drew VerHagen and Jeff Ferrell, Boyd was given a shot late in the season with the team struggling.
The 25-year-old was acquired as part of the David Price trade. He made 11 appearances for the Tigers (10 starts), posting a 6.57 ERA in 50.2 innings pitched. Boyd struggled to rack up a significant number of strikeouts, with 36. He also gave up 12 home runs.
However, there were positives to be had for the young pitcher as well. In what was his first Major League season, the Washington native only walked 19 batters with the Tigers, what’s more, his 5.98 FIP suggests he was better than his high ERA would suggest.
While his numbers don’t jump off the page at you, Boyd has upside as a back-end rotation arm given his ability to improve and limit walks. The pitcher has already taken steps to improve, as he showed up to Spring Training with a new-look slider that impressed manager Brad Ausmus.
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With starters like Norris and Mike Pelfrey ahead of him on the depth chart, it will be an uphill climb for Boyd to make the team, however he’ll likely be one of the first players called up should an injury or trade occur.
The rookie, along with Shane Greene and potentially Michael Fulmer, will likely provide Detroit with rotation depth at the Triple-A level.
In terms of what to expect from Boyd for the upcoming season, Baseball Reference projects a 4-6 record with a 5.23 ERA, two saves and 83 strikeouts in 86 innings pitched. FanGraphs, on the other hand, predicts a much more aesthetically appealing stat line. The website projects a 4-4 record with a 4.30 ERA and 48 strikeouts in 62 innings that span 11 starts.
Motor City Bengals’ Prediction
With Norris likely claiming the final rotation spot, Boyd should start the year in the minors. However, the Tigers will need to be careful in monitoring Norris’ innings total. Expect Boyd, in addition to Greene and Fulmer, to make a handful of spot starts to ease the top prospect’s workload. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 60 innings, including a handful of starts, with a 4.50 (ish, give or take) ERA seems about right.
Boyd could find his way onto the roster at some point in the season as a reliever. While he isn’t the pitcher Drew Smyly was, the 25-year-old might find some success in relief where his stuff could be more effective in a shorter span.