The Lake Elsinore Storm just named outfielder Rod Boykin their latest homestand hero.
During the recent seven-game homestand, Boykin hit .435 with two home runs and four RBI.
He has been a bright spot in the Storm offense since his call-up from Fort Wayne on July 12. In his first 23 games with the Storm, Boykin has hit the same number of home runs that he hit in 69 games with the Tin Caps, doubling his season total to 12. I recently had the opportunity to sit and chat with him for a few minutes after a game.
Boykin was drafted in the 12th round of the 2013 MLB draft out of high school. I asked him if he had any idea that the Padres were interested in him. “Yeah I did, I was playing in the state championship at that time and I had a scout who was at the game and he scouted me a lot. He talked to my parents and I talked to him a lot so I figured I had a chance.”
Rod Boykin began the year at Fort Wayne and was promoted to the Storm after 69 games.
As any minor league ball player will tell you, it is always exciting to be promoted to the next level, but it can be difficult for players as well. Just finding a place to live while trying to adjust to a new team and city can be a challenge. I asked Boykin what his experience was like. “ I was kind of use to it, having a host family and traveling everywhere because in 2015 I played with the Tri-City Dust Devils and I had a host family there. It wasn’t a big adjustment, I was just happy to get promoted. I just came here and am trying to help the team win.”
I then asked him if he had a host family here in Lake Elsinore, and if the Storm helped him get set up. “Well when I got here I stayed in a hotel for three days and then they found one for me and I’m with them right now.” For those of you who don’t know, many minor league ball players live with “host” families. These are people who have spare bedrooms and agree to help “sponsor” players. They let them live in their homes free of charge, often providing rides and food when needed.
When Boykin first arrived, Michael Gettys was on the D.L. recovering from a collision with Jethawks’ first baseman Roberto Ramos. So Boykin was inserted into center field. I spoke to him about the different outfield positions and asked if there was one that he preferred over the others. “I was playing a little bit of left and center at the same time, mainly left, but I played center a couple of times in Fort Wayne also. I really don’t have a preference. I just try to perform wherever they put me.” Boykin has done just that. In the last 30 days he is sporting a slash line of .357/.411/.663. He has hit leadoff, stolen three bases, and played well defensively as well.
Boykin has moved his way up through the system, starting with Rookie ball. I asked him what the toughest adjustment is to make as he progresses from level to level. “Mainly the pitchers can command the strike zone very well. In AZL a lot of people throw hard, but they have no clue where it’s going. Now they can throw any pitch for a strike. You just have to adjust and come out and work hard.” So far Boykin has adjusted very well to life in Lake Elsinore. With the exception of missing a few games after running into the left field wall while trying to make a catch, he has played in every game since joining the Storm, becoming a mainstay in the leadoff spot. Boykin plays the game with an enthusiasm that is fun to watch and I look forward to watching his career progress through the Padres’ system.