Don't have an account?
Join the Best Live Fantasy Chat Community!

Lost password? [X]

Receive free daily analysis:

NFL    NBA    MLB

Already have an account? Log in here.

[X]

Forgot Password


[X]

Believing In Matt Boyd - Is A Breakout Season Approaching?


We’re nearly two full weeks into baseball’s regular season, and waiver decisions are already challenging. With several big name players already landing on the shelf early this year, we have to dissect whose hot start is worth believing in to fill our roster voids.

One of the names making a huge impact so far this season is Detroit Tigers starter, Matt Boyd. He holds a 2.60 ERA and 1.15 WHIP and is 1-1 on the young campaign including a career outing versus the Yankees in which he struck out 13 batters. Three starts into 2019, the southpaw already has 29 strikeouts to his credit in only 11.1 innings pitched. This production alone warrants a speculative roster spot even if he’s on a destitute ball club.

Daniel Norris was thought of to be the marquee piece in the haul that the Tigers received from the Blue Jays in the David Price deal from 2015, but it appears Boyd was the real gem in the trade deadline swap. After glimpses of prominence in 2018, we’ll dive into Boyd’s three-game sample size in 2019, as well as his previous history to see if this is the start of a breakout season, or if it’s just a couple of fortuitous outings.

Editor's Note: Get any full-season MLB Premium Pass for 50% off, with exclusive access to our season-long articles, 15 in-season lineup tools and over 200 days of expert DFS research/tools. Sign Up Now!

 

An Up-And-Down 2018

Boyd’s overall numbers in 2018 don’t stand out as a fantasy relevant player. He tossed 170.1 IP holding a 9-13 record, 4.39 ERA and 1.16 WHIP while striking out 159 batters. What hurt the lefty a season ago was his inability to keep the ball in the park. His 1.43 HR/9 was eighth-worst in the majors as he lived and died by the fly ball with an enormously high 49.9% fly-ball rate.

These numbers got worse as the season progressed, and it was a night and day difference depending on where he was throwing. His 0.92 HR/9 at his home field in Comerica Park was respectable, but when he pitched on the road, this number sky-rocketed to a 1.87 clip. Surprisingly his FB% is 4% higher at his spacious home park, so it’s more likely his 15.1% HR/FB rate on the road regresses towards his 11.2% 2018 mark this season.

The good news for Boyd in 2018 was that he did manage to set a new career-high in SwStr% (10.2%). He essentially ditched the changeup as it went from an 18.5% usage down to 7.7% in 2018. In exchange for the off-speed, he upped his slider usage from 11.9% to a whopping 31.1%.

Major leaguers have hit Boyd’s change to a .277/.336/.478 slash line, so it’s no wonder he threw it less often. His slider was also his best strikeout pitch in 2018 as he had a 15.8% SwStr%, the best rate of his whole arsenal. With this delivery, Boyd’s strikeout arm seems legit, and it should improve with more big league experience.

 

2019 Early Dominance

What stands out the most so far this season for Boyd is his impressively high strikeout total. His torrid pace is admittedly unsustainable, but it is encouraging nonetheless. His first start against the Blue Jays saw him attain a 17.7% SwStr rate and he followed that outing with a 22.5% rate against the New York Yankees when he struck out 13 batters in 6.1 IP.

Boyd has used his slider 37.2% of the time this season, and it’s staying on that elite 2018 pace with a 15.7 SwStr %. With this pitch in his back pocket, he has snuck his 91.1 MPH fastball by hitters. His Contact% on his four-seamer is at 71.0%, over 14% below his career rate, and his SwStr% on this delivery has nearly doubled from a 7.3% career mark to 13.4% this season.

Although the strikeouts are getting the bulk of his fantasy attention, we should take note he’s yet to serve up a big fly (knock on wood). It’s also worth mentioning that two of his starts came in the small confines of Rogers Centre and Yankee Stadium. Boyd has an above average average fly ball rate of 44.1% rate, and combined with his 8.3 Barrel% and 36.1 Hard Hit%, suggests he's getting lucky with no fly balls leaving the park yet.

 

Rest Of Season Outlook

There’s no debate that Boyd is off to a stellar start in 2019. His strikeout numbers are a bit elevated and may not hold this superb pace over the course of a season, but that’s not to say that they won’t still be excellent this year. If he can keep throwing his slider effectively and sneaking in his fastball when he needs to, Boyd will provide at least a K-per inning this season which holds tremendous fantasy appeal in itself.

The 28-year-old has limited the long ball so far this season which is his key to having a breakout year, but this improvement also seems less likely to hold. If he continues to limit long balls though, he'll keep his name in the conversation of a bonafide fantasy stud and it will help him earn trust with fantasy owners to strut him out there every week.

It seems inevitable that Boyd will have the odd game where he serves up 2-3 homers and gets rocked for more than a handful of runs. These types of outings will balance out because as we’ve seen so far, he’s legitimately capable of shutting down an offense and dominating with the swing-and-miss.

Boyd is unquestionably worth rostering for your fantasy pitching staff, but be aware that not every outing will be pleasant. He is trustworthy for his home starts, but we need more data to truly believe that he can reduce the number of fly balls and home runs like he has in his two games this season.

Boyd is currently owned in 65% of leagues, so if he’s available in your league, scoop him up, and if you already own him, don’t be discouraged by a bad game if one occurs in his next few starts. The only way to take advantage of a breakout player is to see it through from beginning to end, and with Boyd, it may be a roller coaster ride.




More Recent Articles

 

Keep Stashing Running Backs the Right Way

Hells to the yeah, my fellow #AllBenchRB truthers. For those of you who don’t know what #AllBenchRB is, let me give you a short recap before I get to the goods. #AllBenchRB is a strategy I’ve coined where you fill your bench with, as the name implies, only RBs. Or at least as many running... Read More


Warning Signs: Saquon Barkley, David Johnson, Aaron Rodgers

Another week, another bout of crazy results. While survivor pools came to a screeching halt with the Saints and Colts losing, there were also some worrying situations that crept up for fantasy teams. This week brings many questions. What should we do with the Atlanta run game? The answer there is nothing. How do we... Read More


NFL Survivor Pool Picks (Week 11) - Targets and Avoids

Doomsday finally arrived. The Falcons' domination of the Saints eliminated the majority of remaining entrants in survivor pools. If you avoided the Saints, odds are you took the Colts in the late game. Of course, the Dolphins beat them as well. More upsets were found as the Titans beat the Chiefs, the Steelers manhandled the... Read More


Quarterback Leaderboards At Midseason - NFL Next Gen Stats

We've consumed our first "double-digit week" set of games. That means we've entered the final part of the season and, in fact, the fantasy football playoffs are closer than you may realize. There are just three more weeks to go until we hit Week 14 and celebrate our presence in the run for the chip,... Read More


Fantasy Football Disaster Recovery: Cooper Kupp

Welcome to Disaster Recovery, where each week I'll examine why your studs played like duds. This isn't a place to find out why you should have sat a player for somebody else on your bench. Disaster Recovery is here to examine the guys who you didn't think twice about starting and to help you decide if you should... Read More


The Tape Tells All - Christian Kirk Fantasy Analysis

Welcome to another edition of "The Tape Tells All," where I break down some film of an NFL's player performance and try to draw some fantasy football conclusions from that film. This week, I'm looking at Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Christian Kirk, who broke out in Week 10, catching three touchdowns. Kirk seems to have... Read More


Fantasy Football Risers and Fallers - Darius Slayton, Christian Kirk, Kareem Hunt

Whether due to their own play, the play of others, or injuries, players' stock increases and decreases on a weekly basis. Perhaps more than any other, the NFL is a league that experiences ups and downs at a rapid pace. With only 16 games, there’s little room for error and seemingly endless opportunities for improvement.... Read More


FAAB Bidding - Week 11 Waiver Wire Targets

Assisting our famous waiver wire pickups list, and our weekly waiver wire columns by position, this column focuses on suggested waiver wire bidding percentages for fantasy football owners in leagues using a Free Agent Acquisition Budget (FAAB). As a caveat, these prices do not by any means indicate how much these free agent players will... Read More


Week 11 Waiver Wire Pickups & Adds

It's crunch time, with precious few games left before the fantasy regular season ends. There aren't many new names emerging on the waiver wire at this juncture but the RB situations in Atlanta and Detroit bear watching, while the Jets passing game has shown signs of life. No, really. Each week, we will advise you... Read More


Deeper League Free Agent Pickups for Week 11

Rotoballers, if you're not active on the waiver wire this time of year, there are only two reasonable explanations: 1) You're sitting at 3-7 (or worse) and don't find it enjoyable to play spoiler to your league mates, or 2) You're 8-2 (or better) and have nothing but matchup-proof studs on your starting lineup and... Read More


Week 11 Defense (DEF) Streamers and Starts - 2019 Fantasy Tiers, Rankings

Below are RotoBaller's Week 11 defense tiers and rankings, or which defenses to stream, start and target off the waiver wire for Week 11 of the NFL and fantasy football season. In case you missed it, this is our seventh year now writing this weekly column. Our weekly tiered defense rankings are a guide to making waiver... Read More


Week 11 Kicker Streamers and Starts - 2019 Fantasy Tiers, Rankings

It's Week 11, and we're getting closer and closer to the fantasy football playoffs. The consistent options are getting more and more clear, especially at the kicking position. We're also going to start dealing with everyone's favorite factor, which is inclement weather, especially up north. The margin for error in these weeks is slim, and... Read More


Week 10 Surprises? We Must Overreact Immediately!

In Week 10, Christian Kirk, Darius Slayton, Tyreek Hill, and Michael Thomas all had beatable cornerback matchups and finished as the top-four wide receivers in PPR scoring. At running back, Derrick Henry exploited a poor Chiefs run defense and rumbled for 188 yards and two touchdowns, finishing as the No. 1 running back on the week. Ronald... Read More


The Cut List - Players on the Chopping Block (Week 11)

This is your weekly list of players to drop. I will do my best to limit this list to injured players and players you might consider holding. If you roster pure handcuffs or backups, obviously you can let them go at any time. The players on this list will, ideally, be guys that aren't clearly... Read More


Running Back Waiver Wire Pickups - Week 11

The regular season continues to advance at a relentless pace as we have now entered the planning process for Week 11. Some of you are in the favorable position of only needing slight modifications to rosters that are destined to enter the fantasy playoffs. But many of you are still searching for the most effective... Read More