The Twins drafted Tyler Jay with the 6th overall pick in the 2015 draft out of the University of Illinois. After signing, he was assigned to Fort Myers, the Twins A+ affiliate in the Florida State League. He was put in the bullpen and pitched 18 ⅓ innings in 19 appearances. He finished with an ugly 3.93 ERA, but his peripherals were much stronger, as he struck out 27% of the batters he faced while only walking 10%, and he didn’t give up a single home run. In 2016, he was reassigned to Fort Myers, this time as a starter. He started 13 games and threw 69 ⅔ solid innings with a 2.84 ERA and good peripherals. After being promoted to AA Chattanooga, he started two games, moved to the bullpen for 3 more appearances before being shut down for the season with neck and shoulder injuries. Overall, his peripherals suffered as a starter, as his K% dropped to 22%.
Pre-2017 Prospect Rankings
Baseball Prospectus: #98
“Jay is slightly-framed—the uniform literally hangs off of him—and he didn’t consistently have the same mid-90s velo as a starter that he showed in short bursts. “
ESPN (Keith Law): Just Missed
“industry-wide concerns remain about whether his slight frame could handle starting.”
Fangraphs (Eric Longenhagen): Other Prospects in Consideration
“This is a potentially dominant fastball/slider combination but the modest list of concerns scouts had about Jay as an amateur has grown a bit in the last 18 months. “
Baseball America: Unranked
“The Twins’ Top 10 might have more questions than answers. ... Can lefthander Tyler Jay, the No. 6 overall pick in 2015, make a successful transition from reliever to starter?“
MLB Pipeline: Unranked
“Jay's future continues to be debated even within the Twins organization. As a starter, he could have the chance to be at least a mid-rotation starter. Now that he is shortened up again, he could have both a 70-grade fastball and slider and get big league hitters out right now, with the ceiling of a future closer.”
The consensus here is pretty clear: Jay didn’t answer any questions about his ability to transition to a starter during 2016, and the cautious optimism pre-draft has been replaced with a fair amount of skepticism.
Early in spring training, the Twins announced that Jay was moving back to the bullpen for the foreseeable future. He was slated to start the season in the bullpen for Chattanooga, but instead he put on the DL with bicep tendinitis.
Keys for 2017
Health: Hands down, the biggest key for Jay in 2017 is to demonstrate some kind of durability. Starting the season on the DL seems like an ominous sign, but hopefully he will come back soon and be able to pitch through the season effectively.
Dominance: Once he starts pitching, I’m looking for signs that Jay will be a dominate force out of the bullpen. I’m not exactly sure what parameters I’d like to see, but I don’t think it is unreasonable to look for Jay to end up with a K% > 30% and BB% < 10% while at AA, and that he is effective against right-handed hitters and death to lefties.
Edited by markos, 22 April 2017 - 06:41 PM.