The Cincinnati Reds have acquired left-handed pitcher Tyler Jay from the Minnesota Twins. He was traded for cash considerations. Jay was the Twins 1st round pick, and 6th overall selection in the 2015 Major League Baseball draft. Seth Stohs of Twins Daily was the first to report the trade.

Tyler Jay had been a reliever in college. In his three seasons at Illinois he started just two games and relieved in 69 others. He dominated his sophomore and junior seasons in the Big Ten, posting ERA’s of 1.94 and 1.08 in his final two seasons. Minnesota drafted him in 2015 and sent him directly to the Florida State League where he pitched out of their bullpen.

The next season, though, they moved him to the rotation. Jay made 15 starts that year between Advanced-A and Double-A, posting a 3.39 ERA in 79.2 innings with 26 walks and 76 strikeotus. His final three appearances of the year came out of the bullpen. He missed all of August that season with inlammation in his neck.

In 2017 he missed much of the year, again dealing with some neck problems, but he also experienced issues with his shoulder. He would only throw 11.2 innings between three stops during the regular season, but did pitch in the Arizona Fall League after the year was over. In 2018 he returned to the bullpen and to Double-A where he posted an ERA of 4.22 in 59.2 innings. He allowed 74 hits, walked 20 and he struck out 49.

This season has been a bit more of a struggle for the lefty, who is back in Double-A. Pitching for our old friends the Pensacola Blue Wahoos, his ERA currently sits at 4.82 through 28.0 innings. He’s allowed 36 hits, walked 19 batters, and he’s struck out 27. The walk rate is up significantly compared to any other time in his career. The ground ball rate, though, is way up. This season he’s generating grounders at a rate of 54.4%. Last season it was just 39.5%.

Fangraphs didn’t include Tyler Jay in their Top 41 prospects for the Minnesota Twins this past offseason. They did, however, include him in the “Other Prospects of Note” section. This is what they had to say:

Jay’s stuff hasn’t quite returned since his many injuries, but he’s still a multi-pitch lefty with average stuff, and that seems rosterable.

It’s clear that he’s going to have to cut down on the walks he’s given up this season. They are simply too high for him, or anyone really, to have sustained success. But if he can get his walk rate back to his career norms, then that issue would no longer exist. The increase in grounders is interesting to see.

Last season I happened to see Tyler Jay pitch. Unfortunately I didn’t keep any notes on him from that day. But I did have the camera going and still have two at-bats worth of video. It’s not much, but here you go:

8 Responses

  1. MK

    Seems like a fairly decent pick-up. Be interesting to see if he is used as starter or back to the pen. Hopefully a new set of eyes can get him back on track to meet his potential.

    • Scot

      He is hurt. His control and velocity are down due to his mechanics. He is doing things differently to work around the pain. I hope he has to pass a physical before this is in stone. I feel for the guy.

  2. Michael E

    Why not, especially with the new pitching coaching regime. Could be a very cheap LHRP that suddenly gets better with a new arm slot or shorter/longer stride, etc.

  3. DaveCT

    Joining us at AA, he could move quickly if/when he resolves his difficulties.

  4. The Duke

    Considering all it took was “cash considerations” it’s absolutely worth the gamble. Jay’s as good a change of scenery lottery ticket as any.

  5. RedsKoolAidDrinker

    Doug, what do you remember about Jay and the 2015 draft? At the time was it considered a reach since he was a reliever soon to be tried as a starter? Would the Reds have let him slip any further than 11th whether TStephenson was there or not?

    Easy to say years after that so-and-so should have been the pick, but why did Buehler drop so far? Was it strictly the medicals since he soon after had TJS?

    It’s been said often that prospect for prospect trades don’t happen too often, but would either team have had a problem if a change of scenery trade was proposed consisting of Jay for N. Howard?