It was an up-and-down season — mostly down — for the Detroit Tigers, but the rollercoaster ride for starting pitcher Matthew Boyd was especially steep. After starting the year on fire, Boyd caught a bad case of homeritis which put quite a damper on what would have otherwise been a clear break-out for the 28-year-old lefthander. Now that the season is over, we can take a look at how Boyd has dealt with the past year from a mental standpoint.
Inside the mind of Matthew Boyd
Cody Stavenhagen takes a look what goes on in Boyd’s head in this article for The Athletic. There was much more to 2019 than just throwing balls from a mound: he and his wife experienced the birth of a son, they began an ambitious nonprofit organization, and he suffered through the passing of a grandfather. Add all of this to his torrid first half, the trade rumors that swirled about him during that same time, and the regression that saw him lead the league in home runs allowed for a team that lost 114 games. That is one hell of a year for anyone to endure.
Boyd admits that it was difficult at times to fully separate his personal and professional lives, despite his mantra of “be present”, a vow he takes everyday to undertake his baseball duties without worrying about the world off the field. Much of this was exacerbated by the decision to have his wife Ashley give birth in Seattle, where the family has a much more robust support structure than Detroit.
“It’s just being aware,” Boyd said. “Being present in the moment, understanding what’s going on, understanding how you’re feeling and what’s going on in your head.”
Despite all of his efforts to stay the course, Boyd found himself straying from his philosophy back in August just before the birth of his son, and was further disrupted when he had to leave the team to attend his grandfather’s funeral. But even despite a ERA of 5.67 after June 2, he still managed to strike out 11.56 batters per 9 innings and kept his walk numbers relatively low, proving that he never completely lost focus.
Moving forward, Boyd’s upcoming offseason will likely be much like the last one, with his focus on dietary adjustments and training regimens, while also working out in the high-tech environment of the Driveline facility. Given his mental fortitude and his passion for success, there is no reason that he cannot take yet another giant step again in 2020.
2020 roster questions
While Matthew Boyd is a lock for the team next season, there are many more questions than there are answers at this point. Looking ahead, one has to wonder what kind of the moves will the front office make to prevent a repeat of this past season’s debacle — if preventing it is actually the plan.
One major hole that needs to be filled is at first base, especially now that Miguel Cabrera is likely to be a full-time designated hitter and the farm is barren of first-sack prospects. This spot, along with a few other positions, would strongly benefit from some free agent signings. The team also has to determine who to offer arbitration to, and who to non-tender; there is also the 40-man roster crunch in anticipation of the Rule 5 draft.
There is no shortage of moves the Tigers can make to try and improve this squad, but the big questions are how determined is the front office to win and how much are they willing to spend. The pieces will slowly come together over the winter, and hopefully come springtime some appreciable changes will have been made.
Miggy’s Triple Crown
#OTD in 2012, @MiguelCabrera becomes @MLB's first Triple Crown winner since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967. Miggy led the American League with a .330 average, 44 home runs and 139 RBIs. pic.twitter.com/tIqe1s9WRH— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) October 3, 2019
Golden Bobblehead Award
We are proud to announce that we have won the 2019 @MiLB Community Promotion Golden Bobble Head. Thank you to @seuniversity for your generosity and partnership! **For the full story check out our Facebook page at** https://t.co/9XVClO21XK pic.twitter.com/PunXdVHveF— Flying Tigers (@LkdFlyingTigers) October 2, 2019
- Here’s where the Detroit Tigers’ rebuild stands, with cloudy future ahead according to Anthony Fenech. His appraisal of the state of the organization is a bit of a somber one.
- Tigers projected to select Vanderbilt’s Austin Martin in early 2020 mock draft. Baseball America thinks Detroit may spring for an advanced hitter next June.
- The Detroit News published their final grades for the Tigers’ 2019 season. The results should come as no surprise to anyone who watched the team this year.
- Rating the American League Central general managers: a look at Al Avila. Hampered by payroll constraints and a mandate to rebuild the farm, Avila has had a rough road to navigate.
Around the horn
Why teams should hire Joe Maddon to be their manager. Universally respected, Bruce Bochy retires as a future Hall of Famer. October tales: the paranoid pitcher and the birth of the walk-off homer. A cold case, not a closed case: The baseball obsessives correcting the record about the 1919 Black Sox Scandal. That time when over 100 marijuana plants sprouted on the Anaheim Stadium playing field in 1976 after The Who played a concert there. The Orioles had the 2nd-worst record in MLB in 2019, but they led the league in heartfelt, handwritten ‘thank you‘ notes.