Twins Select College Pitcher in Round One
Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN - The Minnesota Twins announced tonight that they have selected left-handed pitcher Tyler Jay from the University of Illinois with the sixth overall selection in the first round of the 2015 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.
The 21-year-old junior becomes the second highest drafted player in University of Illinois history, and the highest since shortstop Jim Vopicka was taken fifth overall in the 1966 Draft by the Angels. Jay was rated as the ninth best prospect in the draft by MLB.com, and Baseball America ranked him as the 13th best prospect and as having the best breaking ball, best command and as closest to the majors in the 2015 First-Year Player Draft.
A native of Lemont, Ill., he posted a record of 5-2 with a 1.08 ERA (66.2 IP, 8 ER), 76 strikeouts and seven walks in 30 appearances (2 starts) for the Fighting Illini this season. Jay, who made the start in today's Super Regional loss against Vanderbilt, has a career record of 10-6 with a 1.68 ERA (128.2 IP, 24 ER), 30 walks and 143 strikeouts in 71 career appearance (2 starts) over three seasons for Illinois.
In 2015, the 6-foot-1, 185-pound left-hander was named the Big Ten Pitcher of the Year, Louisville Slugger First-Team All-American, and a semifinalist for the Dick Howser Trophy, Golden Spikes Award and National Pitcher of the Year. The Illini closer holds the school record for saves in a single-season (14, 2015) and in a career (24).
This marks the 12th time the Twins have picked in the top six, the last time coming in 2014, selecting Nick Gordon fifth overall out of Olympia High School in Orlando, Fla. It marks just the second time in club history they have selected sixth overall, the other being left-handed pitcher Ryan Mills in 1998 out of Arizona State University. This is the first time the Twins have selected a college pitcher in the first round since selecting Luke Bard out of Georgia Tech with the 42nd overall pick in the supplemental first round of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft.
Since the 2001 draft, 11 of the Twins first round selections have reached the major leagues and five are on the current 25-man roster, including Kyle Gibson (22nd overall in 2009), Aaron Hicks (14th overall in 2008), Trevor Plouffe (20th overall in 2004), Glen Perkins (22nd overall in 2004) and Joe Mauer (1st overall in 2001).
Tyler Jay was recommended by Twins scout Jeff Pohl.