Here’s the latest from Minnesota…
- Left-hander Tyler Jay, the sixth overall pick of the 2015 draft, will be used as a reliever going forward, Seth Stohs of Twins Daily reports. The decision was mutually made between both Jay and the Twins. Jay mostly pitched in relief in college, yet the Twins were intrigued enough by his four-pitch arsenal that they spent the high pick on him in order to test him as a starter. The southpaw pitched well in 13 starts at High-A ball last season before battling some neck issues over five appearances (two of them starts) and 14 innings at Double-A. Baseball Prospectus ranked Jay as 98th on their recent list of the 101 best prospects in baseball, and he also appeared on top-100 lists from MLB.com (60th) and Baseball America (80th) prior to the 2016 season.
- Jay was drafted one spot ahead of Andrew Benintendi in 2015, and 1500 ESPN’s Darren Wolfson reports (Twitter link) that the Twins “had very little interest” in the outfielder who is now the game’s consensus number-one prospect. Notables such as Carson Fulmer and Ian Happ were picked in the next two spots after Benintendi. In fairness to Minnesota, however, Jay was highly regarded by the major prospect scouting pundits headed into the 2015 draft, so he likely wouldn’t have fallen much further than sixth had the Twins passed.
- The Twins made a point of adding veteran leadership to their young clubhouse this winter, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press writes. Matt Belisle, Ryan Vogelsong, Chris Gimenez, Drew Stubbs and Craig Breslow were all signed to minor league deals or low-cost MLB deals this offseason, providing Minnesota with inexpensive but experienced players who can help on the field and also serve as mentors. “The idea at this stage of my career that I could impact an organization for longer than I may be playing for it is pretty powerful and pretty compelling,” Breslow said. “I’ve started to think about all of the players who have helped shape my career. I certainly look to them with incredible deference. If I have the opportunity to fill that role for somebody, it’s a legacy I would be really proud of.”
- Also from Berardino’s piece, he notes that Stubbs will earn $1MM on his minor league deal should he crack the Twins’ big league roster. Stubbs has bounced around with the Braves, Orioles, Rockies and (multiple stints with the) Rangers over the last two seasons, playing in 137 games and hitting .207/.302/.365 over 234 plate appearances.
- Breslow’s contractual opt-out date is early next week, though Berardino tweets that the Twins will add him to their 40-man roster. Trevor May will be moved to the 60-day DL (due to his torn UCL) in order to create space.