Collin Floyd breaking records as MLB draft nears

Andy Harris
Suburbanite correspondent
Youngstown State pitcher Collin Floyd, a Springfield graduate, delivers a pitch in a game against Mercyhurst in 2019.

YOUNGSTOWN – There’s not really a bad time to break multiple school records and be pitching the best baseball of your college career.

However, it would be tough to find a better time for all of those feats than the senior season – and final semester working on a master’s degree – of a player such as Youngstown State senior left-hander Collin Floyd.

The former Springfield High School standout and Major League Baseball draft hopeful has been racking up K’s and shutting down opposing lineups at a record-setting rate this season and recently earned his third Horizon League Pitcher of the Week award of the season.

Floyd tossed his fourth complete game win of the season in the Penguins' 2-1 victory over Milwaukee on April 9, allowing one run on five hits and matched his career high with 12 strikeouts over seven innings to earn his fifth victory of the season.

He followed it up by tossing his fifth complete game in a 1-0 victory over Northern Kentucky on April 17.

For the year, Floyd has a 6-3 record and a 2.24 ERA. He has struck out 84 batters in 76.1 innings.

“It’s really rewarding and there's a lot of work that went into this and a lot of support from others that motivates me to do the best I can do,” Floyd said. “I'm not a big accolades person, so I don't try to focus on that stuff because I don't want to get a big head about it, but it’s nice to step back and understand that I am accomplishing those things and helping my team win.”

Youngstown State's Collin Floyd

Given where Floyd was one year ago when the 2020 season ended abruptly after just a few games due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Twelve months ago, he was coming back from Tommy John surgery, a well-known procedure in which a ligament is transplanted from elsewhere in the body to repair a torn one in a pitcher’s elbow.

As it turned out, getting nearly a full year more to work on his pitching form and recover from the surgery wasn’t a negative for Floyd.

“Last year when the season got cut short, I had just come back from Tommy John and we had tweaked a few mechanical things, so when the season got canned, we stayed on those mechanical things and kept working on them,” Floyd said. “I always say this, that Tommy John was a little bit of a blessing in disguise because it was nice to have that time to point out flaws and it can be tough to make that adjustment to make when you're in the middle season so having the time to work on it really helped.”

One positive aspect in Floyd’s recovery is that the velocity on his fastball has remained the same, topping out around 91 mph. He’s added what he describes as better, more fluid arm movement in his pitching motion, which allows him to expend less energy and pitch further into games.

Oh, and it’s helped him set multiple YSU records, including career strikeouts and most career games started for a pitcher. He set the career record for strikeouts on April 2 and later that week, became the program's all-time leader in games started with the 50th start of his career.

His efficiency has been off the charts, as in a win over Milwaukee, he recorded a strikeout in six different innings, had multiple punch outs in five different frames, Floyd retired the Panthers in order in the first, fifth and seventh innings and threw 75 of his 89 pitches for strikes.

When it comes to breaking school records, Floyd has a simple, but grateful outlook.

“More than anything it's cool to be able to say that I hold two records there. I'm blessed to be able to say that,” he observed. “I try not to think about it and keep an even keel.”

The same is true for the upcoming MLB draft, set to begin July 11. As he wraps up his academic career in the next few weeks with both his undergraduate degree and MBA in hand, he’ll play in what amounts to a draft preparation league in the Mahoning Valley with other draft hopefuls.

He’ll maintain his normal training, nutrition and baseball routine and if that call comes in mid-July telling him he’s been selected by an MLB team, he’ll happily begin his pro career.

If not, it’s “nice to be able to have a backup plan with my master’s in digital marketing,” even though playing professional baseball would be the realization of a lifelong dream.