Oakland A's Prospect Q&A: Chad Boyd, OF

Outfielder Chad Boyd was one of the standout hitters in the Oakland A's system in 2006. Boyd hit better than .350 on the season and reached base at better than a .400 clip. Boyd is looking to build on that standout season. We spoke to the outfield prospect just before the start of the Stockton Ports scrimmage versus the Sacramento River Cats.

During the second half of the 2006 season, there wasn't a hitter on the Kane County Cougars' roster who was hotter than outfielder Chad Boyd. The Southern California native joined the Cougars at the midway point of the season after spending most of the first half of the year at extended spring training recovering from a knee injury. Boyd quickly made up for lost time by hitting .346 with a .401 on-base percentage, 27 doubles and 37 RBIs in 64 games for the Cougars, helping to guide the team into the Midwest League playoffs.

Boyd is set to begin his 2007 season as the Stockton Ports' starting right-fielder. The Southern California native, who was drafted out of high school in the 2004 draft, is expected to be one of the Ports' top offensive threats this season. We spoke to the soon-to-be 22 year old outfielder about his off-season conditioning program, his approach to hitting, his desire to match last season's success and his excitement about playing in the California League this season.

OaklandClubhouse: So how was your spring?

Chad Boyd: It was good. I did a lot of working out. I worked out with Terrmel Sledge in the off-season. That kind of prepared me for the spring and I just felt good. I finished up really well towards the end [of camp] and I am looking forward to a good season.

OC: How has your knee held up? Did it bother you at all this off-season or this spring?

CB: Not one bit. It actually felt good to be able to not worry about it. I was able to fix some issues in the off-season and I haven't seen a sign of [the knee injury] yet, so that is a good thing, and hopefully I'll continue to stay healthy.

OC: Obviously, you had a really strong offensive season last year in Kane County. Has there been anything that you have been working on to build off of that success?

CB: Just doing the same things, remembering how I got there last season and trying to repeat the same things. I'm looking to have another successful season, and not worry so much just about batting average, but focus instead on going up there and having quality at-bats and trying to win ballgames and let everything take care of itself.

OC: I know you've said that your natural inclination is to be a patient hitter, but is that something you still have to work on or are you pretty comfortable with that patient approach?

CB: Yeah, I feel comfortable with it. I'm being selective-aggressive, looking for the pitch I'm trying to hit off that pitcher at that particular time and if I get it, just using my ability to go with the pitches. I adjust with every at-bat, every pitch, to suit the different situations. We are going to stick with the same game plan that brought me success last year and we'll see what happens.

OC: Do you see yourself as more of a top-of-the-order hitter or as an RBI guy at this point?

CB: I can do both. This spring, they had me in the three-hole where I had plenty of chances to get RBIs and I took care of my job getting runners in. I think I can hit anywhere in the line-up, one through nine. It looks to me like I am in the three-hole right now when we are playing tonight, so we'll see where they are going to stick me during the regular season.

OC: Defensively have you been working on anything in particular?

CB: Definitely. Locking in on a position has been important. I'm really focusing on right-field right now. I really like it over there. I feel comfortable getting reads out there and I worked on that in simulated games this off-season in California. I definitely think I improved there.

My arm strength has definitely improved and I am definitely taking better routes this year. I have also improved my speed [through off-season training]. Since my knee is now hopefully healthy, I can get to a lot more balls that I couldn't get to last season. I'm looking to do much better than in the past defensively.

OC: What kind of workouts did you do with Sledge in the off-season?

CB: We work out at West Coast Sports Training, which is a facility down in Southern California, with Glen Reyes who is our trainer. We were doing a lot of speed work. Not so much heavy lifting. We do some lifting, but more functional for baseball [than strictly strength training].

We also worked a lot on eye training. That is something we really believe in working on. Your eyes are one of the biggest muscles that people often forget about exercising. It was a lot of fun [working out this off-season]. Sledge is a good guy and we kind of pushed each other. He is actually in the big leagues right now.

OC: Is it fun to see someone in the big leagues who you worked so closely with?

CB: Definitely. He actually grew up in my hometown and went to high school not too far down the road. Terrmel is a really hard worker so that helped [to work with someone who works so hard].

OC: You grew up with Conor Jackson, as well, right?

CB: Yeah. Conor is a guy who has really become one of the best prospects in the big leagues. Conor is a horse. He is a workout guy, he eats clean. I grew up with him and his family. His dad coached me for a number of years.

OC: Are you looking forward to playing back in California this year?

CB: Definitely. I'm excited. I've got my family here and they are going to pretty much be around most of the time, traveling to games and that sort of thing. It's going to be a fun year. I have looked forward to this and I have been waiting for this time to play in this league for about two years now and now I am finally here.

OC: Have you heard a lot about the California League from guys who have played here before?

CB: I've heard a lot, especially that it is a hitters' league, but I am just really focused on trying to do what I do and to play the game right and to play it hard. It's basically my hometown to be in Stockton and I am really excited to be here right now.

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