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Tyler Jay Shifting To The Bullpen (Minor League Notebook)

Twins Daily has learned and confirmed that Tyler Jay has been moved to the bullpen going forward. A couple of sources have verified the change.

We will have much more on that, and several other minor league notes today.
Image courtesy of Seth Stohs, Twins Daily (photo of Tyler Jay)
When the Twins drafted Jay with the sixth overall pick in 2015 out of the University of Illinois where he was used almost exclusively out of the bullpen. At the time, the Twins and many other teams felt that the left-hander's pure stuff and four-pitch mix was reason to give him an opportunity to start.

After signing, he jumped straight to Ft. Myers where he pitched out of the bullpen the rest of the season. Last year, he began the season in the starting rotation of the Ft. Myers Miracle. He had his ups and downs but he had some very good moments too. In one game, he threw eight shutout innings, allowing just two hits and a walk to go with 11 strikeouts. Overall, he was 5-5 with a 3.10 ERA in 13 starts for the Miracle. In 69.2 innings, he walked 21 and struck out 68.

He moved up to Chattanooga to end the season. He made two starts and a couple of relief appearances before being shut down due to an injury in his neck.

He missed the final month of the season rehabbing. Had the season lasted a couple more weeks, he likely would have returned.

He came to camp with the idea he would be starting. It was a mutual decision to move Jay to the bullpen exclusively, and it’s something he enjoys and thrives in. It’s likely we’ll see his fastball readings back into the mid-to-upper 90s, and his slider can be a weapon. It is very possible that the Jay could be as good as Glen Perkins was during his three All-Star seasons. As a reliever, he is likely to move much more quickly.

Earlier in the week, the Twins announced that Randy Rosario would be moving to the bullpen as well. In both cases, the pitchers were happy with the decision.


WBC RETURNS

The three Twins minor leaguers from Australia who participated in the WBC for their country have returned. Lachlan Wells has thrown a couple of bullpens and worked in the AA game on Friday afternoon on the back fields. In the game, he took a line drive off of his biceps. He stayed in the game and this morning told me that it’s fine. In fact, he threw another short bullpen this morning.

Todd Van Steensel, full beard and all, has also returned.

Aaron Whitefield has had a busy year. He reported to Ft. Myers for extended spring training last April. Following his terrific showing in the GCL, he participated in the World Cup for Australia. Then he returned to Australia where he again played for the Brisbane Bandits. He said the plan was just to play half of the season, but the team was competing for a playoff spot and wanted to defend its Claxton Shield title. Whitefield kept playing and Brisbane topped Melbourne for the repeat. Right after that, he joined the Australian WBC team and they played in several games in Korea and then in Seoul, South Korea. Within a day of of the end of their run, he returned to Ft. Myers. He got one day to try to move past jet lag, and now he’s going full go.

Reynaldo Rodriguez and Yohan Pino also returned and are working with the Rochester work group. Pino started on the mound for the team on Thursday.

WBC ENTHUSIASM

I have thoroughly enjoyed chatting with the players from Puerto Rico during the team’s WBC run. I chatted for a good half-hour with Dereck Rodriguez, who I’d mentioned is an alternate for Team Puerto Rico. He has been joined for each Puerto Rico game by about a dozen other Twins minor leaguers from the island.

Nelson Molina told me that it’s very exciting to watch his friends and countrymen. Brian Navarreto started mentioning the players on the roster that he played with going back to Little League and it was quite a few. Edgar Corcino is from Bayamon and is friends with Jose Berrios, Francisco Lindor and Javier Baez.

Of course, they all know the Twins contingent of Berrios, Hector Santiago, Eddie Rosario and Kennys Vargas.


SIGHT IS GOOD

Brian Navarreto also told me that he had LASIK eye surgery in the offseason and is still working back. He hasn’t been catching every single day. However, he also noted that he can see the ball so much better at the plate and even behind the plate. It’s also fun talking to pitchers who have been caught by Navarreto. They say that he calls a good game, works very hard, controls the running game and is just very good to work with.


SIGHT IS GOOD, PART 2

On Friday, Travis Harrison went 3-4 with a couple of very loud hits. I noted that he is now wearing glasses on the field and at bat. Following the game, I asked him about it and he said that doctors said he needed a small prescription, and it was his first day with the glasses. It was a good first day.


BULLPEN IMPRESSIONS

I’ve watched quite a few bullpens, and they’re always fun. It’s fun to see what people throw, how hard they throw, break on pitches, what they’re working on and more. Two guys have thrown bullpens that really stuck out to me.

Huascar Ynoa is very young. He was our Twins Daily short season minor league pitcher of the year. The youngster, whose brother Michael pitches for the White Sox, throws really hard. He also showed a very good, sharp breaking ball and a solid changeup. Again, it was one bullpen, but it was very good.

The other one that was terrific in the bullpen was Kohl Stewart. I don’t know why he doesn’t strike out more, but he throws really hard, and I’m told that the ball is very heavy, which explains the lack of hard contact. His breaking pitches looked very sharp, and I saw an at least average changeup. While I did drop him in my Twins prospect rankings this year, he clearly has the ability to be an above average big league starter.

One bonus pitcher of note is Tyler Wells. The tall (6-8) right-hander throws pretty hard, maybe hitting 93-95. However, he also showed a very good breaking ball mix in his outing on Saturday afternoon on the back fields. He showed a slower, 12-6 curveball, and a sharper slider that darts in on a left-hander. Definitely one to watch this spring in Cedar Rapids.


EMPTYING THE NOTEBOOK

Here are just a couple more notes:
  • Has anyone ever seen Twins 3B prospect Chris Paul and Eagles Quarterback Carson Wentz in the same place? They look identical, at least facially.
  • Mitchell Kranson was the Twins ninth-round pick last year out of Cal-Berkeley. He did very little catching his last couple of years in college, but the Twins saw that it was a good place for him. He played all over the diamond, third base, outfield, first base, anywhere. His bat played anywhere. Since the end of last season, he has dropped 25 pounds without losing any muscle. He worked with a trainer twice a day and ate a strict diet.
  • Alex Kirilloff was watching the Twins minor league games this afternoon.
That’s it for today. Please feel free to ask questions as you like. I’ll try to answer as I have time.


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232 Comments

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Brandon Warne
Mar 18 2017 02:17 PM

That first note -- not a great pick, then. 

    • Mike Sixel, darin617, Oldgoat_MN and 6 others like this

Yeah, uggh. Well, that sucks.

 

All of that being said, let's hope we see him in the Twins' bullpen by July.

    • jokin and Tom Froemming like this

Seth, any word on Gonsalves' shoulder?  Really concerned about that. 

 

Great to hear on Kohl Stewart looking sharp.  Ynoa is definitely one to watch and someone who could see his prospect status shoot up by the end of the year. Will he start in Cedar Rapids or Elizabethton do you think? 

Yes, that certainly makes the Jay pick a disaster, especially considering who went in the picks right after him.

    • diehardtwinsfan, Bark's Lounge, carlsonp and 7 others like this
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Secondary User
Mar 18 2017 02:36 PM

Welp

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Taildragger8791
Mar 18 2017 02:37 PM

Well...that's disappointing news about Jay. I'm guessing there's more to it than performance since it's not like he failed at starting by any means. At least we'll get to see him sooner.

 

He'll have to become an incredible shutdown reliever to make that 2015 draft not look like a bust though. Woof.

    • jokin, Oldgoat_MN, tarheeltwinsfan and 2 others like this
Sounds like a lot of optimism for an organization that has failed miserably to produce Major League pitchers. Hope for the best, I guess.
    • Oldgoat_MN and d-mac like this
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Secondary User
Mar 18 2017 02:57 PM

That seems like an early plug pull....

    • Oldgoat_MN likes this
Trying not to overreact to the Jay news but dang this is frustrating
    • Oldgoat_MN, Danchat, d-mac and 1 other like this
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Tom Froemming
Mar 18 2017 03:12 PM

Kinda a bummer about Jay, but this is the org trying to put him in the best position to be successful, gotta support that line of thinking. Seems likely he never lives up to the high pick, but you can't worry about stuff like that now, you just gotta do what you can to get the best version of Tyler Jay you can get.

 

On the bright side, this has to mean we're closer to seeing him on the big club, so that's cool.

    • DocBauer and HitInAPinch like this

Really disappointing to have a guy drafted that early moved to the pen so early in his career. Definitely makes that pick look a whole lot worse.

 

On the bright side, it would now be plausible to have 4 Big Ten Pitcher of the Year winners in the bullpen by season's end - Jay, Perkins, Slegers, and Wimmers. 

 

It's always great news when three first round picks end up being bullpen arms.

 

Might as well try to pry Cory Luebke from the Sox and really go for it.

    • gil4, Deduno Abides and Vanimal46 like this
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tarheeltwinsfan
Mar 18 2017 04:13 PM
.
 
On the bright side, it would now be plausible to have 4 Big Ten Pitcher of the Year winners in the bullpen by season's end - Jay, Perkins, Slegers, and Wimmers. 
 
It's always great news when three first round picks end up being bullpen arms.
 
[/quote]None of them (Jay, Slegers or Wimmers) may even play for the Twins. Awful selections for first round picks.
    • D.C Twins likes this
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joey emerson
Mar 18 2017 04:18 PM

VERY disappointing but between AAA and AA the twins have a lot of power relievers something they have never really had and we see how important the bullpen is becoming. with jay, melotakis, rosario, burdi, chargois, and reed all sit in the upper 90s and some hitting 100 will be nice to see in the next year and a half or so. burdi, chargois and jay all have the potential to be closers. and they also have guys in the upper minors who have just been putting up good number with less stuff guys like hildenberger, jones, and peterson 

    • birdwatcher likes this
Slegers wasn't a first round pick and Wimmers got hurt. Perkins is an acceptable outcome where he was picked.

You should definitely want more out of a #6 pick, even if Jay becomes a dominant reliever. And there was clear alternatives at the time.
    • jokin, Oldgoat_MN, TheLeviathan and 2 others like this

 

 

. It is very possible that the Jay could be as good as Glen Perkins was during his three All-Star seasons.

 

That's probably his floor, since his stuff in College as far as FB/SL went were a tic better than Perkins' in his prime.Jay can be in the Twins' pen tomorrow and be better than Kintzler, if healthy and if ready.Add Burdi, and hope that one of Duffey/Chargois/Reed gets it, and will get the Twins' version of the Nasty Boys.

 

This is really great news.

    • Steve Lein, birdwatcher, beckmt and 1 other like this

Amen to all of the posts disagreeing with the selection of Jay at 1-6.  Further evidence that management was beyond their depth and change was required.  Maybe more change?  

    • blindeke and NDTimIrish like this
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ashburyjohn
Mar 18 2017 05:16 PM

Before the draft: "Just give me the PITCHER with the highest upside".

After it doesn't work out: "#@&$%@$&^%#"

    • Seth Stohs, glunn, birdwatcher and 8 others like this

 

Amen to all of the posts disagreeing with the selection of Jay at 1-6.  Further evidence that management was beyond their depth and change was required.  Maybe more change?  

 

They changed the draft personnel:They promoted the guy who selected him.

 

Seth, any word on Gonsalves' shoulder?  Really concerned about that. 

 

Great to hear on Kohl Stewart looking sharp.  Ynoa is definitely one to watch and someone who could see his prospect status shoot up by the end of the year. Will he start in Cedar Rapids or Elizabethton do you think? 

 

I've talked to Gonsalves quite a bit since heading down. He's doing fine. He's been playing catch, and I believe his first on-mound time will be on Monday, but they plan on him making his first start in Chattanooga (probably) if he gets his pitch count up. If not, he may stay in Ft. Myers for an extra couple of days to make one more appearance down there first.

 

Ynoa... well, he'll start in Extended, and probably go to E-Town, but it is also possible he could move up to Cedar Rapids in May/June as guys like Wells, Thorpe, Romero and others have in recent years.

    • glunn and nytwinsfan like this
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Bark's Lounge
Mar 18 2017 05:56 PM

To be honest, who cares about Jay, hopefully he will be a shut down reliever. He was selected under Ryan's watch - a watch that didn't seem very useful anymore. Let's see if the new guys can do better.

 

Really, what else is there to say?

    • birdwatcher, DJSim22, tobi0040 and 2 others like this

Tweet from Doogie:

 

 

    • DocBauer, nytwinsfan, ShouldaCouldaWoulda and 1 other like this
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Taildragger8791
Mar 18 2017 06:09 PM

 

Slegers wasn't a first round pick and Wimmers got hurt. Perkins is an acceptable outcome where he was picked.

You should definitely want more out of a #6 pick, even if Jay becomes a dominant reliever. And there was clear alternatives at the time.

 

Wimmers' injury isn't why he hasn't panned out. He's never been that good in the minors, before or after Tommy John, and only recently has started looking like maybe he can still squeak out a career as bullpen filler. It was a pretty rough draft after that pick though, so it's hard to blame them too much. Just adds to the frustration though.

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Hosken Bombo Disco
Mar 18 2017 06:21 PM

It's an interesting idea lots of us have been wondering about for years. Teams like Cardinals promote a guy quickly or use him in the MLB pen, then convert back to starter later on. 

    • blindeke and WLFINN like this
"The aggregator" quoted this article. Fun to read it here first

https://www.mlbtrade...e&post-id=87636
    • ashburyjohn and Oldgoat_MN like this

Johan started in the pen, and wasn't a full-time starter until he was 25. 

 

Not saying Jay is Santana, but get him experience now, or soon as a 22 year old vs. major league hitters, no saying he won't move to spot starting, then starting full time down the road.

 

Power lefty arms are always of interest to me.

 

Good point HBD ^^^

    • Hosken Bombo Disco likes this

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