By Keith Peters
Palo Alto Online Sports
Palo Alto High senior B.J. Boyd was waiting at the school's quad during graduation practice when he received a couple of phone calls on his cell on Tuesday morning.
The first was from the Milwaukee Brewers and the second was from the Seattle Mariners. The message from both was: "Stay near your phone."
A short while later, Boyd received the call he really had been waiting for.
"It was from Jermaine Clark, an (Oakland) A's scout," Boyd said. "He said, 'you're one of our guys.'"
That was all Boyd needed to hear.
"I got excited," he said. "I got my team and I got my dream."
Boyd was selected by the A's in the fourth round (139th player overall) in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft on Tuesday.
"I wanted the A's to draft me," said Boyd, who grew up following the exploits of Reggie Jackson and Ricky Henderson. He even wore the A's yellow and green colors while playing for Hengehold in Palo Alto Little League. "I've always been an A's fan. I'm going to sign."
Boyd is believed to be the highest Paly player selected in the first-year draft. Jamal Harrison was picked by the Minnesota Twins in the 11th round in 1995 and Joc Pederson was taken by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 11th round in 2010. He's currently playing for the Dodgers' Rancho Cucamonga team in the California League.
Boyd, meanwhile, worked out for the A's on Sunday at the Oakland Coliseum. During batting practice, he parked one over the Xfinity sign in right-center field.
"I got their attention," Boyd said.
Since Boyd's high school baseball career ended on May 23 in a Central Coast Section semifinal loss to eventual Division I champion Valley Christian, Boyd has been flown to Seattle to work out for the Mariners and to Phoenix to do the same for the Kansas City Royals. He also made a stop in San Francisco for the Giants.
The MLB scouting report on Boyd said:
"Boyd possesses great athleticism and speed in the outfield and has shown good instincts on the base paths. He has an average arm, but it should become better with more work and better mechanics. He should be able to hit for a decent average and could hit for some power with his very muscular frame. Boyd has always split time between baseball and football, so when he starts to focus on just baseball, he could develop into a very good player."
The 5-foot-10 Boyd hits left but throws right. He led the Vikings in hitting this season with a .507 average, getting 36 hits in 71 at-bats. He also led the team in on base percentage (.628) and slugging (.704) while walking 19 times and swiping 25 bases as Paly finished 27-7 under third-year head coach Erick Raich, who was happy to hear the news about Boyd.
"Yes, I saw that and I'm so happy for BJ," Raich said. "Definitely wasn't surprised BJ got taken in the fourth round. He definitely has the ability to make it to MLB, it's just going to be a matter of how hard he works his way through the A's farm system. He has game-changing speed and I think once he gets on a complete weight training program, along with some minor mechanical adjustments in his swing, he could hit for big-time power."
Boyd certainly is a dangerous runner with the kind of speed that allowed him to return seven kickoffs for touchdowns during the football season. While he stood out in football, playing on Palo Alto's CIF Division I state championship team in 2010, baseball has been his sport since an early age.
The dream of playing Major League Baseball started when veteran youth coach Mike Piha picked Boyd for his In2Change pitching machine and coach-pitching league. Boyd said he was 5 or 6 at the time. Boyd graduated to Palo Alto Little League, played on the Palo Alto Babe Ruth 14-year-old all-star team that competed in the World Series, and later helped Paly's baseball team win its first-ever Central Coast Section title, in 2011.
Next up for Boyd will be Palo Alto's graduation ceremonies on Wednesday evening. And after that?
"I'm just waiting until they tell me to report," said Boyd, who has no idea which A's team he could wind up with.
One possible team would be the Vermont Lake Monsters, the A's short-season team that gets under way June 18 and plays primarily on the East Coast. Another possible direction Boyd may go is Arizona. The A's have an Arizona Summer League team, which plays where the parent team conducts spring training -- exactly what Boyd was hoping for.
The A's have two Single-A teams, one in Stockton and the other in Burlington, Iowa. Double-A is Midland, Texas, with Sacramento hosting Triple-A.
No matter where he's headed, B.J. Boyd can't wait to get started.