The Minnesota Twins drafted left-handed pitcher Tyler Jay out of the University of Illinois with the sixth overall pick in last night’s draft.
Where nobody doubts the talent and Major League potential of Jay, this pick leaves a number of options on the table as the Twins need to decide whether to bring him up through the minor leagues as a starter or a reliever.
Jay was predominantly used out of the Illinois bullpen in his three years with the school. He made 71 career appearances for the Fighting Illini, but only two starts. That, however, does not stop a number of experts and insiders from believing that Jay can become a talented starting pitcher in the big leagues.
Jay does have many long relief appearances under his belt at the college level and has spot started on occasion, which makes it easty to see that he can work on stretching out his game to become a starter. Despite team scouting director Deron Johnson’s claim that Jay can be a starting pitcher in this league, should Jay be brought up as a relief pitcher he’d be able to be pitching on the mound at Target Field a lot quicker, maybe even this year if Minnesota can stay in the playoff race.
Regardless of what path the Twins take with Jay, the talent is there without a doubt. It doesn’t take long to realize that Jay was an advanced college pitcher when you watch him throw. He features a fastball that tops out around 95 MPH, a curveball and a changeup. His best pitch is his power slider that many All-Star caliber players, including Detroit Tigers pitcher David Price, have taken notice of it.