Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Two games in Cedar Rapids: Madison Boer and Hudson Boyd

Madison Boer delivers a pitch in the ninth inning Sunday
in Cedar Rapids. Joel Licon (2) is the third baseman.
(Photo by Linda Vanderwerf)
The 2011 draft was (is) regarded as one of the deeper fields in recent years, and several draftees have already reached the majors (with more on the cusp), but the Twins' early picks -- a first round pick, two supplemental round picks and a second round pick -- are all still in A ball.

Three of them are on the Cedar Rapids team now: Third baseman Travis Harrison and right-handed pitchers Hudson Boyd and Madison Boer. I wrote a bit about Harrison in May; on this visit, Harrison DH'd in one game and sat out the second, and since the big question about Harrison is his defense, I have nothing to add to what I said then.

Boyd and Boer each pitched in relief -- Boer on Sunday (one inning, allowing two hits and a run; he got the win when the Kernels scored twice in the bottom of the ninth) and Boyd on Monday (two shutout innings). It was my first look at each.

Of the two, Boer's the one whose presence in low A is most concerning. He was drafted out of a major college program, and he has a 6.88 ERA in more than 120 innings with Fort Myers (high A). At 23, he's old for the Midwest League. He missed a sizable part of this season with a broken hand and has worked just 30.2 innings this year.

His outing Sunday not withstanding, he's put up a good 1.59 ERA with Cedar Rapids, albeit in just 17 innings, all in relief.

Hudson Boyd recoils after delivering a pitch
during his two-inning outing on Monday.

It's worth noting that (a) when he was drafted, there was talk that he was destined for relief work and (b) his bad numbers with Fort Myers the past two seasons were largely compiled as a starting pitcher.

I doubt the Twins used a second-round pick on the Minnesota native with a relief role in mind, but that's the way it's looking.

The same may be true of Boyd, three years younger and presumably less developed than Boer but a higher pick nevertheless. Boyd has split his time in CR between the rotation and the bullpen. His numbers are decidedly unimpressive: 5.48 ERA with more hits than innings, a high walk rate and a subpar strikeout rate.

And yet he looked good Sunday, showing a fastball in the low to mid 90s. He did walk one man, but that was Carlos Correa and appeared to be a semi-intentional walk.

As a starter, Boyd has a 6.75 ERA (64 innings); as a reliever, he has a 1.69 ERA (21 innings).

Again, one presumes the Twins wanted a starter when they invested in Boyd. They may try longer with him to find a starter in the talent than they will with Boer, if only because Boyd is younger.

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