Twins pick high-ceiling prep arm in Boyd

Twins pick high-ceiling prep arm in Boyd

MINNEAPOLIS -- Hudson Boyd said he considers himself a "praying pitcher." As in, he prays the batter doesn't hit it.

Boyd was joking, of course, as the right-hander possesses three strong pitches in his arsenal, including a 96-mph fastball and a plus-breaking ball.

With the 55th pick in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, the Twins selected Boyd, out of Bishop Verot High School in Fort Myers, Fla. The pick was a compensatory selection that the Twins received after losing reliever Jesse Crain in free agency. The Twins also grabbed two hitters on the first day of the Draft -- infielder Levi Michael from the University of North Carolina and third baseman Travis Harrison from from Tustin High School in Tustin, Calif.

The Twins project Boyd as either a starter or a dominant closer.

"We're going to set him out as a starter," said Twins scouting director Deron Johnson. "His low-end, we think he might be a Jonathan Broxton-type of guy. He's got a good arm, up to 95. I saw him up to 97 when I saw him."

The Twins did not have to go far to find Boyd, either.

Before transferring to Bishop Verot, Boyd pitched for South Fort Myers High School, which is right across the street from the Twins' Spring Training facility.

"They were always in the backyard, so me and my buds, we would always sneak in and watch the Minor League Spring Training games because we didn't have to pay for those tickets," Boyd said. "We always saw them play, and I've never heard anyone say anything bad about the Twins, so I couldn't be happier to be drafted by this team."

Boyd is committed to play for the University of Florida and said he would choose what he thought was best for himself and his family, whether that was signing with the Twins or pursuing a collegiate career with the Gators.

Live coverage of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft resumes at 11 a.m. CT Tuesday on MLB.com, where fans will receive exclusive coverage of Days 2 and 3, featuring a live pick-by-pick stream, expert commentary and Draft Tracker, a live interactive application that includes a searchable database of every Draft-eligible player.

You can also keep up to date at Draft Central and by following @MLBDraft on Twitter. And get into the Draft conversation by tagging your tweets with #mlbdraft.

Jordan Schelling is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.