The Minnesota Twins are wasting no time working first round draft choice Tyler Jay up the system and have assigned the lefty to the Fort Myers Miracle (A+).
Assigning a first round draft pick to such a high level right away is an odd practice for most Major League organizations. Shortstop Nick Gordon (5th overall), right-handed pitcher Kohl Stewart (4th overall) and outfielder Byron Buxton (2nd overall) were the franchise’s last three top picks and all of them were first assigned to rookie ball. None of the three ever cracked the Single-A level until their second year in the professional ranks and out of those three players, only Buxton reached High-A ball in that second year.
He will be teammates with Stewart, the team’s first round pick in 2013, who entered the season as the 36th top prospect on MLB.com’s list. It is very likely that Jay will be higher than Stewart on the prospect ranking when new lists are released next spring.
The Twins have clearly put Jay on the fast track to the Majors and the potential is there for the former Illinois reliever to make an impact at Target Field very soon. Some experts even believe that his Major League call-up could happen as soon as August should Minnesota remain in the playoff hunt.
Jay officially signed with the Twins yesterday after passing his physical, agreeing to a deal with a $3.8 million signing bonus. He finished an impressive three-year career at Illinois with a 1.69 ERA. He appeared in 30 games in 2015, including two starts, and had his most impressive season to date by posting a 1.08 ERA and holding opponents to a .177 batting average.