Quick Hit: Could Tyler Jay, Now A Full-Time Reliever, Emerge As Minnesota’s Closer?

Thoughts:
Jay had operated as a closer in college, though when the Twins selected him in the first round of the 2015 draft it was with an eye towards starting.  However it took 102.0 innings, including 14.0 at Double-A, for that to change.

There is no questioning the stuff, considering his career minor league marks as a starter:

  • Strikeouts – 8.7 K/9
  • Control – 3.0 BB/9
  • Groundballs – 1.29 GO/AO

We’d expect the strikeout rate to rise with the move to the bullpen, further enhancing his outlook.  Just look at how MLB.com described him, including the likely reason for the change:

“He does have a four-pitch mix he’ll use when in that role, with a fastball up into the mid-90s. He has a plus slider that’s his best out pitch and he’ll mix in both a curve and changeup, both of which can be Major League average. With a less than picturesque delivery and a slight build, there are concerns about his durability, which adds to the case for those who want to see him relieve.”

Look for him to primarily use his fastball/slider as a reliever, and combination could be lights out.  At 22-years old it’s not unthinkable that he reaches the Majors in ’17, and given the need in the back of the bullpen would it be shocking if he sees save opportunities by year’s end?

Obviously the southpaw is going to drop on our Twins’ prospect rankings, as he was originally slotted in as the Twins’ #2 prospect.  That said his actual impact could be greater, and come significantly quicker, thanks to the change.  If it’s not 2017, he should be racking up saves by mid-year 2018.

Sources – MLB.com, MILB.com, Baseball Reference

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