BRADFORD, Pa. – Ryan Boyer, a 2020 alumnus of the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford who also went to Bradford High School, has become the third former Panther to sign a professional contract with a Major League Baseball team.
Boyer, who last played for the Milwaukee Milkmen of the American Association of Professional Baseball, agreed to a minor league contract with the Toronto Blue Jays. Boyer posted a 6-3 record with a 2.72 era with the Milkmen in the summer of 2021.
“It certainly has not been the easiest path,” Boyer said. “But I worked hard and enjoyed the hard work needed, which I believe helped me get to this point.”
He spent Spring Training at the Blue Jay’s minor league camp in Dunedin, Fla., where he was assigned to the club’s Single-A team, the Dunedin Blue Jays.
Boyer was a five-year member of the Panther baseball squad, boasting a career record of 17-14 with an earned run average of 4.27. He struck out 251 batters in 230 innings pitched for Pitt-Bradford. At Pitt-Bradford, Boyer played under head coach Zach Foster, who happened to be the first Panther player to sign a professional deal with a major league club, spending four seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirate organization.
“He’s the best to come out of Pitt-Bradford in my opinion,” Foster said. “He’s battled through so much adversity whether it was an injury, the pandemic, or the shortening of the draft. Watching him work through this, develop and take control of this career has been incredible.”
Boyer’s Panther career got off to a strong start but unfortunately saw his final two seasons with the Panthers cut short. After a dominating start in his season opener in 2018-19, Boyer was injured in the game and missed the remainder of the season. His 2019-20 campaign was off to an equally dominant beginning, as he received conference and national honors for his performance before it was abruptly ended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“He is a tireless worker, a man of deep character, and a true winner,” Foster said. “I can only hope that I had a sliver of the impact on him as he has had on myself as a coach, our baseball program, and our university.”
Boyer was able to parlay his Panther career and skill set to another level, as he completed a graduate transfer to Division I Canisius for his final year of collegiate eligibility. Boyer was 2-1 for the Griffins with a 3.52 era in nine appearances.
Boyer joined Milwaukee after completing his final collegiate season at Canisius. Once with the Milkmen, Boyer began as a tandem starter with another pitcher who was working back from an injury. He eventually transitioned into the starting rotation, before moving into the bullpen, where he saw great success as a late-inning reliever.
Once moved to the back end of the bullpen, Boyer made 24 appearances, allowing just five runs over the span. This included a stretch of 15-straight appearances without allowing a run to score. He struck out 66 batters in 47.1 innings pitched while allowing only 14 walks.
During his successful stint for the Milkmen, major league clubs began to take notice, checking in with him throughout the season. After the season was completed, Boyer was contacted by a scout from the Blue Jays requesting video footage.
After pairing his on-field success to the film, they reached out to offer the minor league deal.
“I want to thank my family and all of my coaches, including Coach Foster and Coach (Bret) Butler,” Boyer said. “Without their advice, support and coaching, I would not be the person or player that I am today.”
To learn more about Pitt-Bradford’s baseball team or one of the other six men’s or seven women’s sports, visit athletics.pittbradford.org.