First Look at Leon Boyd
So just as I was chortling and shaking my head at the concept, the Blue Jays signed the Dutch closer from the WBC to a minor-league contract. He’s only 25, and gets bonus points for being Canadian (as well as keeping a blog and having the most comprehensive wikipedia entry ever for such an unknown player). But is this another near-pointless shot in the dark because the Jays don’t have any money, or could he really be an overlooked major league talent? Let’s see what the pitchfxlinger 2000 has to say (sadly with data from only his one appearance against the States in the WBC as that’s the only Netherlands game they turned it on for).
Velocity: Apparently Boyd was clocked at 92 at some point during the WBC, but against the US his fastball was at 87-88, his changeup at 83-84, and his “slider” at 73-75. The quotes are because there isn’t usually a 14 mph difference between a pitcher’s slider and his fastball, that’s more curve territory. But he’s a sidearmer, so forget the labels and let’s see how his pitches move.
Movement : At the very least, he’s different. Look at how his slider doesn’t sink at all compared to his fastball – it just goes from side to side. His fastball was varying a lot in how much it sinks, and his changeup falls right off the table, although it isn’t much of a change of pace, being ~4 mph slower that his fastball.
Release Point: One worry, however, is that he throws that changeup (that otherwise looks really good) from a completely different arm slot, about 20 inches lower (!) than his fastball. His slider was alternating between the two arm slots, so maybe he was just having some mechanical issues with his offspeed stuff…but if that is something he does consistently, it would be telegraphing that pitch in a way that major league hitters will no doubt figure out and start feasting off of in no time flat.
Location: This isn’t really enough to get anything from, but here’s where he was around the plate against the States. I could say something about his slider being all over the place and it being a slider, and him being a sidearmer, that would probably be true — but there’s only four of them so let’s just skip it.
I’ll probably clean this up a little later and add a snappy conclusion, but that’s all I can squeeze out of 15 pitches for now. The final verdict? Who knows if his shtick will cut it, but sidearmers are cool!
Update: Sweet jesus, I slacked a couple of days, and someone else has already written pretty much this exact piece. About one game that a longshot prospect for the Jays threw. Shoot me in the @!*$#!% face. I quit!