Minnesota Twins Pitching Prospect Finding Health, Role in Arizona

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BOSTON, MA - June 4: A Rawlings baseball glove is seen at the Minnesota Twins dugout before the game between the Boston Red Sox and the Minnesota Twins at Fenway Park on June 4, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Winslow Townson/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - June 4: A Rawlings baseball glove is seen at the Minnesota Twins dugout before the game between the Boston Red Sox and the Minnesota Twins at Fenway Park on June 4, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Winslow Townson/Getty Images) /
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The Minnesota Twins selected Tyler Jay was selected 6th overall in the 2015 draft. He may be finally finding his future role with the Twins in the Arizona Fall League

The Minnesota Twins have been waiting to see what they have in Tyler Jay since selecting the lefty from Illinois in 2015. After moving him to the bullpen in 2017, he was injured before the team could see how the “experiment” would really go, but in the Arizona Fall League, they’re getting a chance to see, and the results so far are very good…

Bullpen history

Jay made a total of 2 starts in his collegiate career with Illinois. However, he frequently pitched multiple innings out of the bullpen. His junior season in 2015 was one of the most dominant seasons in recent Big 10 conference play, as he threw 66 2/3 innings with a 7/76 BB/K ratio, 1.08 ERA, and 0.70 WHIP.

The Twins did throw Jay out of the bullpen in his draft year, making 19 appearances in Fort Myers, throwing 18 1/3 innings with a 3.93 ERA, 8/22 BB/K ratio and a 1.42 WHIP.

The move to the rotation was attempted in 2016, but after 18 games, 15 of them starts, the Twins chose to move Jay back to the bullpen, with many thinking his future role was going to be akin to the role that Andrew Miller has taken the last few seasons as a multiple inning lefty.

The Twins hoped to see how Jay could handle the bullpen, but after struggling with shoulder issues for over a month, the team announced on July 1st that he would be out for most of the rest of the season due to thoracic outlet syndrome symptoms. He returned for a short time at the end of the minor league season, but intended to get some work at the Arizona Fall League in his future role.

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Arizona Performance

Jay’s made 5 appearances thus far, throwing 4 2/3 innings. he’s really had one rough outing, his October 20th appearance against Mesa, where he went 2/3 of an inning, allowing 2 runs on 3 hits and a walk. It was also his only appearance thus far that he hasn’t recorded a strikeout.

Due to that one appearance skewing his overall ERA and WHIP numbers, he sits with a 3.86 ERA and 1.93 WHIP, but he’s also got a 1/7 BB/K, striking out 13.5 K/9. He’s shown an ability to dominate hitters in short stints with his mid-90s fastball and a hard fastball with unique velocity, running all the way to the low-90s with the pitch, really playing hard on batters when he’s in good delivery as both look like fastballs out of the hand until the slider breaks hard and late.

Next: Twins top 100 prospects complete list

How he could fit

Jay has enough confidence in his change that he can use it in multi-inning outings. Currently Taylor Rogers is the one lefty assured of a spot in the 2018 Minnesota Twins bullpen, and it would be a benefit to the Twins to have two lefties that they could count on to attack hitters from both sides of the plate, so Jay’s continued dominance would set he and the Twins up well for 2018 and beyond.

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