Right-hander Terry Doyle
has been something of a late-bloomer in his baseball career, but at age 26, he'll get his shot at making a big league rotation this spring despite having never pitched at the Triple-A level.
The Boston College product, whom the White Sox took with their 37th-round pick in the 2008 Draft, was selected by the Minnesota Twins with the second selection in December's Rule 5 Draft. Doyle, a 6-foot-4, 225-pounder, must remain on the Twins' 25-man roster for the entire season or else he will be offered back to the White Sox.
"If you look at his line this year, it's impressive, and he was impressive in the Arizona Fall League," Twins general manager Terry Ryan said. "The one thing that sticks out is the innings he's logged. This guy is a workhorse. He's going to take the ball. He's big and strong and durable."
Doyle was dominant in the elite AFL -- he went 4-0 with a 1.98 ERA, 22 strikeouts and five walks over 27 1/3 innings against the best prospects in the game. The performance raised his profile and likely prompted the Twins to give him a golden ticket to the Show.
MiLB.com spoke to Doyle, who works as a substitute math teacher in his native Rhode Island during the offseason, in January.
MiLB.com: Have you been teaching again this offseason or did your participation in the AFL spoil that? What else are you up to when you're away from the game?
Terry Doyle: I haven't been teaching quite as much -- I got a late start after being in Arizona for the Fall League -- but yeah, I'm still at it. I took a couple of weeks off after the AFL, but besides teaching I'm doing a fair bit of lifting and running. And I also referee basketball games here in Rhode Island.
MiLB.com: What kind of games? Did you play basketball when you were in high school?
Doyle: Mostly junior varsity games. Yeah, I played in school, and both my parents are basketball referees, so I know the rules pretty well.
MiLB.com: Does your background in math extend to an interest in sabermetrics?
Doyle: Not too much. I do look at the advanced stats sometimes -- I'm kind of a stat rat -- but I don't read too much into them. I think some of the metrics can be misleading at times.
MiLB.com: What was your experience in the AFL like?
Doyle: It was a lot of fun and a great opportunity for me to earn respect. With no Triple-A experience and only half a season at Double-A, it was a chance to show what I could do against top hitters.
MiLB.com: Did you anticipate being a Rule 5 pick or was it a surprise?
Doyle: It was a little bit of a surprise. I knew that a good Fall League performance might give me a chance, but I wasn't exactly expecting it.
MiLB.com: It's only been a few weeks, but what have your interactions with the Twins been like? Is their approach to things any different from what you're used to?
Doyle: I've gotten calls congratulating me and welcoming me from several people in the Twins organization, and I'm heading out there for Twins Fest at the end of the month. It's been positive. I never got too many calls from the White Sox in previous offseasons, but then I was only in Class A at the time.
MiLB.com: You threw 200 1/3 innings between the Carolina League, Southern League and AFL. That is a ton of work for anyone, but especially in the Minor Leagues. How did your arm hold up through the season?
Doyle: I felt good pretty much the whole season, apart from two weeks on the disabled list with a blister. Pitchers want to pitch, and getting up around 200 innings was kind of a goal of mine. You want to have that level of success where you can just keep going.
MiLB.com: I understand you were hampered by dermatitis during your junior season at Boston College. Have you had any problems with it since then?
Doyle: That was a weird thing -- it affected my grip for about three months, but I haven't had any problems since then. The blister I had this summer was my first. The blister made it difficult to throw my curveball, so the Sox had me skip a start just to get that confidence back.
MiLB.com: You were 22 when you were drafted -- a little bit older than some of the guys you would have been playing with at the time. Do you think that helped or hindered you in your progress?
Doyle: In the long run, I think it's helped. Baseball aside, I think being more mature and having had more experiences was helpful for me. Some guys have never been away from home or lived on their own when they're drafted. Having more experience with life makes it easier to concentrate on baseball without being distracted by other things.
MiLB.com: What's your preferred method of getting through the long bus rides in the Minors?
Doyle: I'll play some video games with the guys sometimes, but my main strategy is to put on my iPod and take a nap. I'm sure my teammates could tell you some stories about me snoring in the back of the bus.
MiLB.com: What kind of music do you have on your iPod?
Doyle: Almost exclusively country music. I'm a huge country fan.
MiLB.com: Being from Rhode Island, I assume you grew up a Red Sox fan? Who were your favorite players when you were a kid?
Doyle: Yeah, I was a big Red Sox fan. I played a lot of shortstop when I was younger, so I'd say my favorite player was probably Nomar [Garciaparra]. But I liked John Valentin and Mo Vaughn too. Basically, I liked the whole team.