Last night was probably the most dominant performance that Joe Boyle has had in a long time. The right-handed pitcher took the mound at Day Air Ballpark in Dayton and faced the minimum through 4.0 hitless innings while striking out 10 batters. He needed just 75 pitches in that span, throwing 48 strikes. West Michigan managed to put one ball in play against Boyle, a pop up to first base that ended the second inning.

On a cold night in Dayton, Joe Boyle was bringing the heat. On the night he was sitting 95-96 MPH, regularly hitting 97 and dipping to 94 on occasion. He was working on changing the eye level with the hitters – his fastball worked up in the zone throughout his outing. When he went offspeed, mostly with the breaking ball, he’d put it at the bottom of the zone. He did vary the breaking ball velocity, too. His curveball works in the 79-82 MPH range while his slider would come in a bit harder, working 84-87 MPH. Blessed with big time stuff, Boyle not only had the stuff working on the night, his control was mostly there, too.

Coming out of Notre Dame the scouting report on Joe Boyle was that he had elite stuff and big time control issues. He threw just 36.0 innings while pitching in college and he walked 48 batters. But he also struck out 57 of them. Looking at the numbers, the scouting report seemed to check out. At times it’s been much of the same as a professional. He’s made 10 starts, but thrown just 27.2 innings – some of his starts were on rehab assignment where he only threw an inning of work. However, in that time he’s walked 19 batters. That’s a walk rate of 17.4% – about twice as high as the big league average walk rate. He’s also struck out 58 batters. That’s a strikeout rate of 53.2% – more than twice as high as the big league average strikeout rate.

This season Boyle has made two starts for the High-A Dayton Dragons. He’s thrown 8.0 innings in those two starts and he’s yet to allow a hit. He’s struck out 17 batters and walked five. The control has gotten better as a professional, but it’s still something that’s going to have to improve as he moves forward – particularly if he’s going to remain a starter instead of shifting to the bullpen down the line.

TJ Hopkins keeps rolling in Chattanooga

There are a few players in the Reds organization that are out to good starts this season. You could argue that only teammate Matt McLain is out to a better one than TJ Hopkins is. The outfielder began the season by going 0-5 with a walk and five strikeouts in the first two games. Since then he’s torn the cover off of the ball in Chattanooga (and last night in Mississippi). Hopkins picked up two more hits last night, including his second home run of the season and is currently hitting .308/.455/.654 through eight games on the season.

6 Responses

  1. Michael P

    Boyle could really be an astounding back end shut down style pitcher. More innings he pitches, the more opportunity to lose focus and produce walks. Do you think the Reds want to keep him as a starter?

  2. SellTheTeamBob

    Make Boyle a Closer LOLOLOL. Hope he strikes out 3 before he walks 4.
    Maybe something will click eventually and he will find control.

  3. icehole3

    I would keep him as a starter. He was at 96-97 and as he gets more experience and hard work I believe he will develop a changeup and continue to locate his curve-slider. I also believe he can crank a 98-100 if he wants to reach into the tank. So I hope the Reds just continue what they’re doing with this kid.

  4. Bdh

    After he just collected his 2nd hit today I was coming here to ask about Hopkins. Pretty cool coincidence that he was in this article anyway.

    Doug, what kind of ceiling does he have? I’ve never really paid any attention to him before this year. Is 25 too old for AA?

    • Bdh

      Now 3-3 with an rbi, run, and sb

      Pretty exciting to have him breaking out at the same time Siani is starting to put it together.

    • DaveCT

      Given no 2020 minor league season, I’d say he’s still on schedule, especially for a guy being moved methodically through the system.