New York Mets ace and defending Cy Young winner Jacob DeGrom has earned a ton of plaudits already for engineering two dominant outings to begin the 2019 season; with recording double-digit strikeouts in each being a big part of the acclaim. While he certainly doesn't have anywhere near the pitching chops/reputation that DeGrom has, Detroit Tigers lefty Matt Boyd deserves some praise in his own right as he too has recorded double-digit K's in both of HIS outings to start the season. The more recent of the two was a 13-K masterpiece while surrendering just one earned run in 6.1 IP versus the New York Yankees in his last outing on Wednesday and that got the fantasy baseball community talking about his early results relative to some ugly career marks. As it stands now, Boyd goes into his third start with the following numbers:
Obviously the small sample size applies here as Boyd's K/9 and BABIP numbers are both skewed. Instead let's just focus in on the K's itself and how Boyd has 23 already in just 11.1 IP. What really needs to be noted on that front is the fact Boyd is now relying on what has turned into a very good slider more than ever and he is generating a ton of swings and misses like a DeGrom using that pitch. The slider is relatively new for Boyd in terms of his reliance on it and keep in mind this is the same guy who recorded ERA's of 4.53, 5.27, and 4.39 the last three seasons. Heading into 2019 Boyd was considered to be nothing more than an SP 5 at BEST given those ugly ratios and there was really no indication he would take off the way he has. So perspective is needed here in terms of Boyd likely pitching over his head so far this season but also some appreciation for the fact the slider is now a big weapon of his. In terms of where we go from here, we should grade Boyd now as an SP 4 due to the slider which is an improvement on his stock but also keep in mind that a regression across the board is on its way as well. All props for how good Boyd has started the season but we also don't want to get too far ahead of ourselves either. With the Tigers being able to supply much in the way of wins, Boyd is very dependent on holding the K's and ratios that help. All three of those numbers are far from set in stone and so Boyd should be treated with cautious optimism.