Boyd wanted to be like John Olerud

* LHP Matt Boyd has made three starts for class-A Dunedin without allowing a run. He's walked two and fanned 16 in 17 innings to date. .... (PHOTO: Eddie Michels) 2014 Canadians in the Minors 2014 Canadians in College Letters of Intent 2014 Canadian draft list 2015 Canadian draft list


By Bob Elliott

Growing up on Mercer Island, Wash., a youngster could go one of two directions.

Travel west across the floating to Seattle, home of the Seattle Mariners.

Or head east to Bellevue, where a pretty fair hitter named John Olerud lived.

And from 2000-04, Olerud was playing first base for the Mariners.

“I was a left-handed hitter, I played first base, he’s a guy I wanted to grow up be just like,” said Matt Boyd from Dunedin.

The Blue Jays drafted the 6-foot-3 lefty as a senior from Oregon State University Beavers in the sixth round of the 2013 draft. Even before signing he walked down the hallway of the Bobby Mattick training facility on the way to the weight room when he stopped in his tracks.

There he saw a huge framed picture of Olerud, the only Jay to ever win a batting title. Boyd used his phone to take a picture of the picture of Olerud in the batting box and sent it to his father, Kurt Boyd “look at this.”

He had highlights pitching a shutout at the College World Series but could there be a picture of Boyd hanging in the same hallway years from now?

Well, he has walked the same halls as Olerud and he’s walking from the Florida Auto Exchange Stadium mound this month pitching for class-A Dunedin after one scoreless inning after another.

A year ago he made five starts at class-A Lansing and Dunedin and this year is 3-0 in three starts without an ERA yet. In 17 scoreless innings he’s walked two and struck out 16.

Scouting director Brian Parker and area scout Ryan Fox gave Boyd a $70,000 US bonus. Not Vernon Wells or Ricky Romero signing bonus, but also not the $1,000 amount that the Jays gave to a number of senior signs in 2012.

Everyone is true to his roots and so too is Boyd, who recalls watching Orgeon State play in the College World Series.

“I was in Florida with my travel team watching Oregon State on ESPN (Oregon State won back-to-back in 2006-07) and feeling so proud,” said Boyd. “Everyone says how we’re a cold weather school.”

Oregon State reached Omaha last summer after winning the Pac-12 conference and Boyd did his part fanning 11 Indiana State Hooisers in a 1-0 win in the College World Series .

“Omaha is a piece of baseball heaven, a week and a half of baseball in its purest form,” said Boyd. “It was like a dream come true.”

Jon Lester and Tim Lincecum are also studs from the Great North West.

Through his high school years he played for the Seattle Sno-king Thunderberbids. One ex-teammate Tyler Johnson, now skates for the Tampa Bay Lightening. The T-Birds played against Spokane and crossed the border to face the Burnaby Winter Club, Northshore Winter Club, Abbotsford and Kamloops.

He also played pucks on the Washington state developmental term and USA regional developmental team before concentrating on baseball.

Drafted in the 13th round by the Cincinnati Reds, Boyd spent his first three years as a reliever and as a freshman was a DH and a reliever: a two-way man like Olerud was at Washington State. After Boyd turned down the Reds he was “always in coach Pat Casey’s ear, wanting to start.” Casey agreed Boyd could start.

Next thing you knew the lefty was starting the Friday night season opener. He began the season 6-0, including a two-hit, seven-inning performance against Arizona and a one-hit, 11-strikeout gem in a 5-0 win over Arizona State. Two outings later, he threw a two-hit shutout against Utah.

Boyd was 11-4 with a 2.04 ERA for Oregon State throwing at 132 2/3 innings and fanning 122. In 18 starts he never allowed more than three earned runs and only once has gone fewer than six innings holding Pac-12 hitters to a .197 batting average against.

We’ve written often about the good blood lines of players. Well, Boyd has a pedigree. On his great grand mother, Carolina Moery Martin’s side. for the Moery family tree show that Boyd’s ancestors include distant relatives Bob Feller and former first lady Dolly Madison. He has a poster in his bed room of a picture of Feller pitching against Joe DiMaggio.

“He was a patriot and he could pitch, I’ve heard lots of stories about him,” said Boyd, who never met the late Feller, who pitched 18 years for the Cleveland Indians winning 266 games, despite serving four years in the Navy.

“It’s an honour and pretty cool.”

Heading into his junior year Boyd pitched Cape Cod for the Orleans Firebirds and Team USA. The next summer he was back in Orleans.


 At Oregon State

Pitching ERA W-L S G GS IP H ER BB SO ERA Opp. Avg

2010 1.90 7-1 0 20 2 42.2 31 9 14 28 .200

2011 1.57 0-0 4 30 46.0 42 8 11 35 .253

2012 3.41 4-0 3 31 0 37.0 33 14 13 31 .237

2013 2.04 11-4 1 20 18 132.2 92 30 33 122 .197


Hitting Avg. G AB R H HR RBI

2010 .264 29 72 13 9 3 19

2011 .000 2 1 0 0 0 .000