Pair of Eights

West Virginia's Bobby Boyd and Harrison Musgrave were taken at the top of the eighth round in the 2014 Major League Baseball Draft.

While Harrison Musgrave was one of the most highly rated players on West Virginia's team entering the draft, it was actually Bobby Boyd, a junior, who was the first pick off the board. The speedy center fielder, who led the Mountaineers at the plate with a .356 average in 2014, was selected with the 226th pick overall by the Houston Astros. He was the first player taken in the eighth round.

Boyd is the second outfielder selected by the Astros so far, who have made nine picks through eight rounds of the draft. Houston picked junior outfielder Derek Fisher of the University of Virginia. (Of note, the Astros also picked former Mountaineer pitcher Brock Dykxhoorn in the sixth round. Dykxhoorn transferred to Central Arizona College after the 2013 season.)

Boyd's high selection will give him a tough decision -- return to West Virginia for a senior season, or begin working on his pro career with a reasonable salary assured. While the total amount spent on each individual slot is not rigidly assigned, MLB implemented a "pool" concept a year ago that caps the amount teams can spend on its draft picks in the first ten rounds. MLB teams can exceed the pool amount, but face penalties for doing so, including fines and a loss of draft picks.

In calculating how to split up that pool money among the picks in the first ten rounds, several "value sheets" were created that assign a monetary amount to each pick through the first ten rounds. Last year, Last year, the 226th slot had an assigned value of approximately $160,000.

Harrison Musgrave quickly followed Boyd, as the Colorado Rockies snapped him up seven selections later with pick number 233. Musgrave's senior stats didn't match his junior numbers in terms of wins and losses (he was 5-3) but his 2.62 ERA and 1.05 WHIP were even more enticing to many teams as it was a year ago, when he was picked in the 33rd round by the Philadelphia Phillies. Musgrave is all but assured to be heading to the pros, as he has little left to prove on the collegiate level after earning numerous all-conference honors during his two seasons in the Big 12.

Musgrave is the fourth pitcher selected by the Rockies through eight rounds. Colorado selected lefty Kyle Freeland (first round, eighth overall), righthander Ryan Castellani (2-48) and left Sam Howard (3-82) before taking Musgrave with the 233rd selection overall.

Boyd's production at the plate was a factor for the Astros, who saw his ability to get on board and create runs as a spark plug for the offense. Also obviously contributing is his great defensive range. He patrolled large swaths of both center field and the alleys for WVU, turning many potential extra base hits into outs with his great speed. His plus-arm, which he showed off with eight assists from his defensive spot (more than all other WVU outfielders combined) also is a large factor in his defensive make-up.

Underclassmen in the draft have a bit more than one month to make their decisions as to whether to sign with a major league team or return to their college for another year. Many players make their decisions far more quickly, but contract negotiations can extend as far as the major league signing deadline, which is August 15.

BlueGoldNews Top Stories