Twins announce deal with No. 6 pick Jay
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins wasted no time in signing left-hander Tyler Jay, who was taken by the club with the No. 6 overall pick in the 2015 First-Year Player Draft.
The Twins introduced Jay at a press conference at Target Field on Wednesday after the former University of Illinois standout passed his physical. Jay's signing bonus is worth the full slot amount of $3,889,500, according to MLB.com's Jim Callis. The Twins, however, did not announce the bonus amount.
Jay, who was drafted on the same day he pitched his final game with Illinois in the NCAA Super Regionals on June 8, said it's finally starting to sink in that he's a professional pitcher now.
"It's real, but at the same time, I know it's not an easy road to get to the Majors," Jay said. "You've got a lot of work to do. So it's just kind of the beginning for me. So I'm just going to keep that mentality."
Jay, though, could be on the fast track to the Majors, as he'll be used as a reliever this season before being converted to a starter next season. He's also skipping a couple of levels in the Minors, as he'll be starting his career at Class A Advanced Fort Myers after participating in the organization's minicamp.
"He's got good stuff," Twins general manager Terry Ryan said. "He's got four pitches and he throws them over the plate. He ought to be able to compete at that level in the Florida State League."
Jay was ranked by MLB.com as the No. 9 overall prospect entering the Draft, and also was rated as the player most likely to make his Major League debut this season, much like the Royals did with Brandon Finnegan last year.
"Hopefully I just throw well wherever I'm going, and improve my abilities," Jay said. "However long it takes, as long as I help the team out, is what I want to do."
This year at Illinois, Jay went 5-2 with a 1.08 ERA in 66 2/3 innings (two starts). He was named the Big Ten Pitcher of the Year, a Louisville Slugger All-American and a semifinalist for the Golden Spikes Award.
"He kind of worked up that ladder of Draft boards this spring," Ryan said. "He probably started the year as a possible first-rounder. In the first month or so, he started to get into people's crosshairs a little higher than first round -- they started to consider him up there in the mid-round, and all of a sudden, he continued to move on up the boards, and ultimately he was talked about in the Top 10."
The Twins also announced they signed fifth-rounder Alex Robinson. Robinson, a hard-throwing left-hander from the University of Maryland, posted a 1.63 ERA with 32 strikeouts and 20 walks in 27 2/3 innings this season.