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Leon Boyd

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Leon Boyd
  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 6' 6", Weight 210 lb.

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[edit] Biographical Information

Leon Boyd is a pitcher for the Toronto Blue Jays organization and the Dutch national team. His fastball can hit 92 mph, but sits around 88.

Boyd's father Sean Boyd played ice hockey in the Netherlands from 1971-1974 and met Leon's mother there. While Leon was born in Vancouver, Canada, his Dutch ties would enable him to pitch in Hoofdklasse. He received his Dutch passport in December 2005 (because his mother was born and raised in Holland), but was not pursued by any Dutch clubs after trying to contact some just after his college career was over, so went on to play baseball in Belgium the following summer. Playing in Belgium for the Hoboken Pioneers, Boyd dominated, going 11-1 with a 0.84 ERA and 156 strikeouts in just 96 innings. Also, Boyd hit .421 with 2 home runs in 38 at bats for the eventual national runner up.

Boyd was scouted by and in contract talks with several Dutch Hoofdklasse teams for the following season (2007). Also, the Dutch national team picked him up to join the Netherlands for the 2006 Intercontinental Cup, where he was 0-2 with a 2.63 ERA, but led the team in innings. Against the Cuban national team, he allowed four hits and one run in 1 2/3 IP of relief after replacing Rob Cordemans, taking the loss in a 3-2 defeat. Three days later, he allowed just one run in six innings to the Japanese national team but again lost as the Dutch got shut out. Against the Australian national team, he struck out 7 and allowed one run in six innings in a no-decision as the Netherlands won 4-3.

Boyd debuted in Hoofdklasse in 2007, going 9-0 with a 1.22 ERA, allowing 42 hits and no homers in 66 2/3 IP while striking out 61. He was 0-2 with a 2.64 ERA in the playoffs, though, as Neptunus was upset by the Pioniers in round one. Boyd tied Vaughan Harris and Diegomar Markwell for second in Hoofdklasse in wins. He tied former major leaguer Eddie Oropesa for sixth in strikeouts (61). He was first in WHIP (7.97, .52 ahead of Dave Draijer) and third in ERA behind relievers Duko Jansen and Chris Ryan. He was a finalist for the Pitcher of the Year Award, but lost out to Bergman in part due to missing a month of the season with a back muscle strain.

In the 2007 World Port Tournament, Boyd earned the World Port Tournament Best Pitcher award, allowing only five hits in 15 IP and won twice, including a masterful complete game shutout of the Chinese Taipei National team facing only 28 batters. He was 2-0 with a 0.93 ERA in the 2007 European Championship, helping the Netherlands win Gold. He was with the team for the 2007 Baseball World Cup, going 1-1 with a 2.55 ERA and a team-high 14 strikeouts for the 4th-place squad. He had a solid game but received a no-decision against the Australian national team when closer Michiel van Kampen couldn't hold a 3-2 lead in the 9th. He had another fine appearance allowing one run in six innings in a crucial win over the South Korean national team and matched Tadashi Settsu (the eventual pitcher of the tournament) with five scoreless frames in the Bronze Medal game before allowing 2 runs in the 6th, and being shutout 5-0 by the Japanese.

On June 12, 2008, Boyd threw a no-hitter against the Amsterdam Pirates. He allowed two runs, one unearned, thanks to 3 walks, 2 hit batsmen and 3 errors by his team. Shortly thereafter, Boyd had a 4.50 ERA in the 2008 European Cup in Regensburg. He was knocked out early in a win against the host Buchbinder Legionäre and did not get a decision in the Cup.

Boyd was 1-0 with a 2.70 ERA as the top Dutch hurler in the 2008 Olympics, getting their lone win (against the host Chinese national team).

In the 2008 Hoofdklasse, Leon was 10-2 with a 1.64 ERA, allowing only 70 hits (no homers) in 93 1/3 IP. He had a 1-1, 3.09 record in the playoffs as Neptunus was eliminated before the 2008 Holland Series. Boyd was 4th in the league in ERA, tied Jos de Jong for 5th in opponent average (.213), 2nd in WHIP (8.97, 2.39 behind Rob Cordemans), tied for second in wins (even with Kenny Berkenbosch, trailing Patrick Beljaards), third in innings, second in strikeouts (86, 26 behind Cordemans) and tied for first in quality starts (11, even with Diegomar Markwell).

Boyd had a strong stint in the 2009 World Baseball Classic, going 1-0 with a save and a 2.25 ERA as the Dutch closer. In his first game, he entered with a 3-2 lead against the Dominican national team in the 9th inning. He walked Willy Taveras and got Robinson Cano on a grounder. Taveras was thrown out stealing. Hanley Ramirez walked, then Jose Bautista struck out to end the inning. In his second game, he came in with a 1-0 lead in the 8th inning against Puerto Rico, replacing Michiel van Kampen with the bases loaded and one out. He allowed a 2-run double to Yadier Molina, got Alex Cora to fly out and gave up a RBI single to Jesus Feliciano as Puerto Rico won 3-1. Boyd got the win in the second victory over the Dominicans. He replaced Diegomar Markwell with two outs in the 10th of a 0-0 game. He hit Miguel Tejada and allowed a Jose Guillen single, then got Cano to fly out. In the 11th, he retired the first two batters, then walked Jose Reyes. Jose Bautista's fly to right was misplayed by Eugene Kingsale for a run-scoring error. Boyd fanned Hanley Ramirez. The Dutch team rallied in the bottom of the 11th to win 2-1 and eliminate the Dominicans. He gave up a 2-run homer to Adam Dunn in the loss to Team USA that knocked the Dutch squad from the tourney.

Right after the Netherlands was eliminated from the Classic, he got a try-out with the Toronto Blue Jays. The Jays were impressed enough to quickly sign the right-hander to a minor league deal. The club assigned him to the AA New Hampshire Fisher Cats. He debuted on April 15 with a perfect inning for a save against the Connecticut Defenders. He saved a game the next day too, fanning two of three opponents. He split the year between New Hampshire (1-5, 6 Sv, 5.47, 43 BB in 52 2/3 IP) and the Dunedin Blue Jays (0-1, 1.54, 13 K in 11 2/3 IP).

In March 2010, Boyd was released by Toronto. He was hopeful to be signed by another MLB organization. He got offers from Italian and Dutch clubs and wound up signing with Neptunus. He had a dominant year, going 9-0 with a 0.39 ERA and .152 average (36 H in 69 1/3 IP) while fanning 83. He led the league in ERA by .42 ahead of Cordemans, led in opponent average (.015 ahead of Dushan Ruzic) and was second to David Bergman in strikeouts despite ranking 15th in strikeouts. He tied Ruzic, Markwell, Kevin Heijstek and Jurjen van Zijl for second in wins, 3 behind leader Begman. Boyd won Pitcher of the Year honors for his work.

Boyd blanked the German national team on two hits in seven innings in the 2010 European Championship before Arshwin Asjes completed the whitewash of the Bronze Medal-bound Germans. In the Gold Medal game, Leon relieved Markwell with a 3-1 deficit in the 6th and promptly served up back-to-back homers to Giuseppe Mazzanti and Jairo Ramos Gizzi. He was replaced by Asjes in the 7th and the Dutch went on to fall, 8-4, the first time since 1997 that they had only gotten a Silver at a European Championship.

Sources: Honkbalsite, Dutch baseball stats, IBAF site, Armstrong Atlantic State University Athletics, A website about Leon and his fiancee's upcoming wedding, giving some personal background on the pitcher, 2008 European Cup in Regensburg, 2008 Olympics, Mister Baseball, World Baseball Classic, 2010 European Championship

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