MLB: B.J. Boyd, Keeping it Simple

Life is simple for B.J. Boyd. He sticks to the basics: smiling, having fun, and playing baseball.

While the life of a minor league baseball player can seem like one constant battle, for the Oakland Athletics prospect it is all about keeping things in perspective. The 24th ranked prospect in the Athletics system is doing his best to keep his game and his life as he described, “simple.” Whether it is putting the bat on the ball in his day job or being a good person in everyday life, the Palo Alto native knows it’s about sticking to the basics and keeping life simple.

Drafted in the fourth round in 2012 by the Athletics, Boyd is now coming into his seventh season in the minor leagues. The speedy outfielder describes himself as someone who can do a little bit of everything on the diamond whether it be a bunt, hit the ball from foul pole to foul pole, get a home run when needed.

No matter what happens just get on base, that’s key,” Boyd said. “You can’t go wrong as long as you are getting on base.”

It was that ability to get on base that allowed the career .281 hitter in the minors to start the 2018 season in Nashville, the triple-A affiliate of the Athletics. With some other prep talents selected by Oakland that summer (like Addison Russell, Daniel Robertson, and Matt Olson) having made their mark on the big leagues, the 4th round selection is ready and anxious for his opportunity.

Screen Shot 2018-04-12 at 11.54.44 AMBoyd knows how big getting that call to the majors would be.

It would be the biggest thing in the world,” Boyd said. “That’s what I have been working for my whole life.”

Even though he is so close to the highest level of baseball in the world, Boyd doesn’t think of himself as a soon to be a celebrity or even a role model, he just considers himself to be an average guy.  

Despite this simple mindset, he understands he still has a long way to go to make his dream a reality and play on the same field that Athletics Hall of Famer Ricky Henderson did years ago. The all-time stolen base leader offered Boyd guiding words, to “be who you are, don’t try and change,” something that could not ring truer for the future big leaguer.

Like Henderson, Boyd grew up with a passion for football, a sport the two would each trade in for greener pastures. Growing up in a family built around the game of baseball it was only a matter of time before he made the switch.

Unlike most baseball players, Boyd did not pick up the sport until his junior year of high school. Little did he know, only two short years later, he would be drafted. It might have been a surprise to him, but not to his family that has shown a tremendous amount of support and encouragement throughout his career.

It was that support from his family that pushed him to follow his dream even at such a young age. Knowing he would not get that time back, going straight from high school to the minor leagues was a no-brainer.

Even with his tremendous talent, Boyd was quickly shown how challenging the game is, facing adversity and some down years with the bat. He would go on to spend four full years at the various A-ball levels, like Vermont, Beloit, and Stockton, posting numbers below expectations. Battling the adversity and a longer path to his dream than he expected, he never felt discouraged. He knew it may take longer than he originally thought, but he would make his dream a reality and fight through the adversity to continue to have fun in the game that he loves.

The multi-tooled player recognized that in those tough times, and even the good ones, it can be a mental grind. As a way to cope and relax, he turned to another one of his passions, music.

I write during the season to keep my mind off of the game because baseball is a stressful game and it is made for failure,” Boyd explained.  “I make music to get away from the game. Mental health is key, that is the biggest thing.”

When he isn’t running the bases or making music you can likely find the California native in his hometown helping out with the youth in the community.  Starting his own team as a way to give back, he is aims to teach young ballplayers to get better, learn faster, and most importantly grow as a person. He acknowledges that what these players learn beyond the game is just as, if not more important than what they learn in it.

With the 2018 MLB season underway and Boyd being one step closer to his dream, he is continuing to listen to his own advice that got him to where he is. Keeping a clear head, staying hungry, and most importantly, making sure everything is simple.

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