Seattle Mariners: 5 Rule 5 Draft Options to Consider
Tyler Jay, LHP Minnesota Twins (AA)
Sometimes, things just don’t work out. Tyler Jay was the number 6 overall pick in the 2015 MLB draft after he dominated the Big 12 as the University of Illinois closer. The Twins selected him with hopes of transitioning him into the rotation.
It wasn’t a terrible idea, as Jay flashed the potential to have 4, average or better pitches and command. But injuries and an inability to adapt to life as a starter have halted Jay’s progress, and he now seems destined to be a bullpen arm for his entire career.
Jay wasn’t productive in AA for the 2018 season, but the team drafting Jay won’t do it because minor league stats are interesting to them. They are buying a profile. Jay still has the stuff to be an effective, multi-inning reliever in 2019. In fact, a team like the Rays would likely deploy him regularly as an “opener”.
Jay’s fastball sits in the mid-90’s with nice movement and he backs it up with a good slider that flashes great at times. This combination alone makes him perfectly capable of getting big league hitters out, but Jay even has an average curveball and mediocre changeup to throw into the mix.
It is unlikely Jay will ever be able to make the leap to a starting pitcher, but it is likely it won’t stop teams from trying. He has the repertoire to do it, and that profile for 150+ innings will be tempting to pass on.
But with the Mariners not trying to compete for the playoffs in 2019, stashing Jay as a long reliever/second LHP in the pen could be a wise move. A slight tweak to Jay could unleash a player who looked like the #6 amateur in the country, and the Mariners have an entire season to take a stab at it.