Hunter Boyd has been the king of the hill for the Edmonton Prospects this season.
As the team’s ace, the right-handed pitcher from Moses Lake, Washington has been both durable and effective.
In nine starts and 67.1 innings for the Prospects, Boyd has put up a 5-2 record and an exceptional 2.27 earned run average (ERA). He also struck out 50 batters, while issuing free passes to just 13 hitters, and he has two complete games this summer.
The consistent performances earned Boyd a spot in the Western Canadian Baseball League (WCBL) All-Star Game in Edmonton, and he will be counted on as the Prospects duke it out for a playoff spot in the final games of the regular season.
We caught up with Boyd and asked him several questions, which he graciously answered for us as part of our 7th Inning Stretch player profile series:
1. Why baseball? What attracted you to playing the sport in the first place?
My parents said I could throw a ball really well ever since I was a kid. I stayed on track with it and am happy to say I’m still playing to this day.
2. You’ve shown an ability to pitch deep into ball games, often going eight-plus innings. Many starting pitchers struggle when they see batters for a third or fourth at bat in a game. How do you keep hitters guessing and allow yourself to eat up so many innings, yet still not get lit up in those later innings?
What I try to do is establish two pitches in the start of the ball game. Then when I notice guys start getting barrel to the ball, I will mix it up. This has worked for me tremendously, and I will always continue to do that.
Location is my friend sometimes, as well. If I can spot pitches then I know I will be good to go for later innings, depending on pitch count.
3. Your injury history is well documented. A dirt bike crash shattered your growth plate in your right wrist and several surgeries, plates and screws later, you were left with a right arm that was more than two inches shorter than your left arm. What was the biggest takeaway from that experience and how does it impact your life now?
The biggest takeaway I took from it is that accidents happen and to never take life for granted, because it could change in a blink of an eye.
There are just some small impacts on my life now, such as workouts and other small things I can’t do, but I have learned to work through it and manage it anyway I can.
4: Before arriving in Edmonton, you had a very good senior year at the College of Idaho, striking out 76 batters over 87.1 innings and recording a 3.40 ERA. You’ve just kept it rolling this season with the Prospects. What does your pitching arsenal include and what were your goals coming into this summer?
My pitches include fastball, changeup, slider, curveball, knuckleball. Changeup is my favourite pitch.
My goals were to throw strikes and to miss barrels … also to work my ass off and hopefully get a chance to keep playing after this summer.
5. At the WCBL All-Star Game you were spotted playing catch with a young fan in the stands before the festivities started up. Do you do that often and, if so, why is that important to you?
I do this every game I am not starting. When I was a kid I loved when I’d go to these types of games and I felt like I was on top of the world if I got to play catch with a player. Giving back is something I really enjoy doing.
6. Who is your favourite baseball player, and why?
Marco Gonzales, pitcher for the Seattle Mariners. I just enjoy watching him, how much of a tempo he has and controls, and how he plays the game on and off the field. He has a great personality and plays baseball the right way.
7. During one media interview, you mentioned a desire to play baseball as long as you can and then possibly go into law enforcement. Why are you interested in law enforcement as a career option?
Law enforcement has always been a passion for me. I appreciate everyone who works in the force. They put their lives on the line every day to help make the community a safer place. That is exactly what I want to do.