Minor League Baseball announced their player and pitcher of the week on Tuesday morning and right-handed pitcher Joe Boyle got the nod this week for the Dayton Dragons as the top pitcher during the past seven days in the High-A Midwest League.

For the most part, this past week was just more of the same for Joe Boyle. He held the West Michigan Whitecaps hitless for 6.0 innings on Tuesday, walking three batters and striking out eight. It was the fourth time this season that Boyle has left a game without having allowed a hit. That’s more times than he’s left a game this season while allowing a hit (three).

It’s been an incredible start to the 2022 season for Boyle with Dayton. He’s thrown 33.2 innings and allowed six hits on the season. No, that’s not a typo. Only one of those hits has been an extra-base hit – a double. The righty has allowed just two earned runs on the year, and one of those came across the plate after he had left the game and a reliever took over. His ERA sits at 0.53.

His walk rate remains significantly higher than you want to see it as he’s handed out 24 walks over 128 batters faced. That’s a walk rate of 18.8%. While it’s not a 1-to-1 comparison, the Major League walk rate this season is 8.5%.

While the walk rate is significantly higher than you want to see it, his strikeout rate is also incredibly high. This season he’s struck out 51 of the 128 hitters he’s faced. That’s a strikeout rate of 39.8%. Again, not a 1-to-1 comparison, but the big league average strikeout rate this season is 22.3%.

The walks and the strikeouts are very much showing up in the line against Joe Boyle this season, too. Hitters have a triple-slash line of just .058/.242/.068 against him. They aren’t making contact, and when they do they are doing absolutely nothing with it. He hasn’t given up a home run this season, meaning every “ball in play” has been fieldable. When hitters make contact against him they are hitting .115.

It will be interesting to see how the Reds handle Joe Boyle and the level he’s pitching at. Right now it’s very clear that the competition he’s facing has no shot against him if he’s throwing the ball near the strikezone. But guys at this level are able to hold back on enough pitches out of the zone that he will walk a lot of guys along the way. Pushing him to Double-A could exacerbate that walk issue even more as hitters are generally more advanced in identifying pitches and their zone.

Promoting Boyle could put him in a situation where he’ll face hitters who could push him to learn from experience more on how to work them in the zone. But it’s also a situation where if he’s not on top of his game with regards to throwing strikes, he could struggle to get through innings because of mounting pitch counts because guys will be more patient and will take their walks.

It’s a double-edged sword, for sure, and probably not an easy decision. One evaluator I spoke with last week who has seen Boyle pitch twice this season said that he would keep him in Dayton for a while until the control is more consistent. We’ll find out if those in charge of making the decisions for the Reds are thinking along the same lines.

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Doug Gray is the owner and operator of this website and has been running it since 2006 in one variation or another. You can follow him on twitter @dougdirt24, or follow the site on Facebook. and Youtube.

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20 Responses

  1. Stock

    I would keep Boyle in Dayton for a couple more starts.

    Something to consider. We all remember playing in little league where a boy knew he had no shot at hitting a pitcher so he went for the walk. By the time you get to high school those walk seekers have given up playing and you don’t here much of it. It seems to me that this may be a problem in A+ ball for Boyle. Batters know they can’t square up on him even if they happen to make contact (33% more IFFB than base hits). It seems he gets a lot of called strikes. Either his stuff is so good it fools them or they understand it is best to try for the BB. When he reaches AA this will not be as much of a problem and batters will attempt to make contact thus reducing BB.

    I am not sure of this (either that players are hoping for a BB in A+ or that they won’t in AA) but am interested in see how it plays out in AA.

    • DaveCT

      The other possibility, in the little league example, is that he is so wild that many pitches aren’t hittable even when the hitter is looking to swing because they’re so far out of the strike zone.

      • Stock

        But those pitches would not be called strikes at this level

      • DaveCT

        Right. They are looking to hit, just not getting anything close to the plate.

      • Doug Gray

        He’s not that wild, though. Honestly, you would think with his walk rate he’d be throwing it all of the place and that simply isn’t the case.

      • DaveCT

        Now, that is interesting. I half wonder if his stuff is really hard to call for a Single A ump?

        Dang, Doug, tell me this before I go off out on a limb questioning somebody.

  2. Doc

    Nolan Ryan walked 2,000 more hitters than any other pitcher, or at least any other HoFer, in baseball history.

    Randy Johnson, also HoFer, had high walk rates in the minors at least until about age 29 season. Scouts have been quoted as saying he would never make it to the big leagues. Oops!

    I would be satisfied if Joe Boyle was half the pitcher they were, even better if he is as good as they were.

    By the way, what is Joe Boyle’s WHIP and how does it compare to other prospects who have ‘more acceptable’ walk rates, but give up hits at a significantly higher rate. Might be worth mentioning that Nolan Ryan had the lowest hits per nine inning rate of any HoF pitcher.

    • Stock

      For comparison sake:

      Boyle: 0.59 ERA, 0.89 WHIP
      Graham Ashcraft: 1.65 ERA, 1.47 WHIP
      Andrew Abbott: 1.73 ERA, 0.98 WHIP (0.85 in Dayton)
      Connor Phillips: 2.53 ERA, 1.01 WHIP
      Brandon Williamson: 3.97 ERA, 1.46 WHIP
      Bryce Bonnin: 3.15 ERA, 1.00 WHIP
      Chase Petty: 4.19 ERA, 1.19 WHIP

  3. DaveCT

    There sure are some things to dream on with Boyle. Certainly the wicked breaking stuff and his fastball. I’m just not really investing too much in a guy with serious control issues, before we even begin discussing whether he can command what he can control. T

    o me, his most likely ceiling is middle reliever. And given where he was at starting his career, and where he might land in middle relief, that’s a success. Sal Romano had a great year in AA, He was looking like a good #4 starter or a strong reliever. Now he’s in Tacoma. My take is don’t take your eyes off the prize. It (they) being Greene, Lodolo, Ashcraft, Williamson, Abbott, Bonnin, and then maybe Boyle.

    • Luke J

      His ceiling is elite starter. Ace. Whether he hits it is another matter, but make no mistake, the potential is there (which is what ceiling means).

      • DaveCT

        I’d still say his *most likely* ceiling is middle relief. Maybe I should say his most likely role is middle relief. But then, if that’s all he becomes, isn’t that his ceiling?

      • Luke J

        No, your ceiling is not what you become. It’s what you could possibly become if everything works out perfectly. Few players, if any, actually reach their ceiling. I agree that top of the rotation star is not likely and your estimation of middle relief is even more likely if he makes the majors, but his ceiling is definitely ace. If I had to guess where he ends up, it would be possible big league starter or closer. But a middle reliever with his stuff (that curveball is insanely good), would be just fine with me.

  4. Optimist

    Doug – about your comment above that “he’s not that wild” – what’s the context there? For example – let’s take an awesome control/command pitcher, say, Greg Maddux. When he was on, could he put a pitch within an inch or two of chosen spot? And, say, a league average pitcher can be generally within 6-8 inches?

    Is Boyle simply far outside those – say only getting within a foot of where he wants it? As opposed to crazy movement stuff, but anywhere from 58 feet to over the head and to the backstop?

    Are we talking the difference between Bob Feller and Steve Dalkowski?

    • Optimist

      I’m intrigued given the incredible stats he’s putting up, as well as Boddy’s comments on first meeting him.

    • Luke J

      I’ve watched several of his starts. I wouldn’t call him wild at all. Most of his walks are the result of battling into long counts and losing batters. It’s not like he isn’t in and around the zone. He just misses the edges. I’m less worried about the walks than most.

      • DaveCT

        And that’s encouraging. His walk numbers are just plain ugly. But if the eye test (scouting) says different, that adds to the intrigue. I wondered above whether his stuff is really difficult for Single A umps to call correctly, as well.

        Either way, Doug has a hot topic to throw out to us every so often.

  5. Greenfield Red

    I don’t buy the excuses for Reds top prospects with high strike out percentages. Doug just said it. The league average is 22.3%. Guys striking out nearly 40% of the time do not impess me. Until they get the strikeouts down, they will not contribute much in mlb.

  6. DaveCT

    It seems notable that Daytona called up a SS from Extended Spring Training to replace Steiger, rather than put Minier there. I’d say the switch off of SS for Minier is permanent.

    • Doug Gray

      Minier has started 7 games at shortstop for Daytona out of the 14 games he’s played. Now, if you ask me, he’s not playing shortstop much longer…. he’s just not built for it at all. But Minier has played shortstop for Daytona in 6 of his last 8 games.