Astros Draft Targets: A Case For Tyler Jay


In today’s chapter of potential Astros draft targets, I’ll be looking at Tyler Jay from the University of Illinois.

After failing to sign Brady Aiken with the first overall pick last summer, Houston will be entering the 2015 MLB draft with two of the first five picks. Having that extra Top 5 pick could give them the flexibility to draft someone like Jay, a left-handed reliever who is finishing his junior season.

Who is Tyler Jay?

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Jay, who in 29 games, posted a 5-1 W-L record with 14 saves. He struck out 70 batters in 60.1 innings while only issuing seven walks, and he’s posted an ERA of 0.60, and opposing hitters are only batting .151 against him. He is a 6’1, 175 lb. A left-hander with a fastball that sits in the mid 90 mph range and can hit 97 and 98 MPH when needed. He also possesses an above average slider and curveball and an average changeup, according to scouts.

He does have a solid repertoire of pitches, but what he doesn’t have is experience starting. He’s only started one game for Illinois in his career there, but he has pitched multiple innings during several appearances, including a six-inning outing where he struck out seven hitters.

This is his third season pitching for Illinois, and he pitched for Team USA last summer.

Physically, he compares to two players that Astro fans still love, Roy Oswalt and Billy Wagner. Oswalt was a 6 foot, 190 lb player that used athleticism and good mechanics to make up for a slight build. Jay has a similar build and scouts are high on his overall athletic ability and delivery. Like Jay, Wagner was a slender left-handed power arm who generated his fastball with an excellent delivery.

Is Jay a Potential Astro?

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Jay is a potential target for the Astros because he could have the best combination of fastball, and secondary pitches of anyone is this class. Since they have two of the Top 5 picks, the Astro’s brass could look at Jay and draft him with the intention of transitioning him into a starter. Because Houston uses a piggyback system for pitchers in their system, Jay could be worked into a rotation without much fear of wearing out his arm. Drafting him could also help the Astros in the short term. Jay is considered the most major league ready of any of the pitchers in this class. As a reliever, he could find his way to Houston during a late summer stretch drive if the bullpen needed another arm.

If GM Jeff Luhnow and the front office does consider him a possibility and have their sights set on him, they will probably need to take him with the second pick. Many mock drafts have him going to Colorado at #3, and it is hard to find anyone involved in the draft that thinks he’ll make it to the fifth pick. Luhnow and his team have shown that they are willing to draft a player and then get creative with the financial structuring of contracts. Taking Jay with the second pick and then signing him to an under-slot deal could allow them to take the best hitter that is on the board when the fifth pick comes around and even deeper in the draft.

Currently, the Astro’s minor league system boasts several talented pitchers and Jay would add to the roster of arms and bring something that all 30 MLB teams prize, a left-handed power arm. If Jay is selected and they do choose to keep him in the bullpen, he might have a much faster trip through the system. But the potential to become a starter is there because of his assortment of pitches and ability to throw them for strikes.

Keep up with the rest of the series below.

Astros Draft Prospect: Kyle Funkhouser

Astros Draft Prospect: Trenton Clark

Astros Draft Prospect: Walker Buehler

Astros Draft Prospect: Jon Harris

Astros Draft Prospect: Tyler Jay

Astros Draft Prospect: Andrew Benintendi

Astros Draft Prospect: Kyle Tucker

Astros Draft Prospect: Daz Cameron

Astros Draft Prospect: Dillon Tate

Astros Draft Prospect: Alex Bregman

Astros Draft Prospect: Carson Fulmer

Astros Draft Prospect: Dansby Swanson

Astros Draft Prospect: Brendan Rodgers

CTH Mock Draft (First Five Picks)

Next: Joe Musgrove Interview

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