The sixth overall pick in 2015 from the University of Illinois, Jay battled injuries and ineffectiveness as a starter, and is now a reliever only. I saw him make two appearances from the Double-A Chattanooga ‘pen in July and August of this season.
Jay’s velocity has backed up since his college days, sitting at 92 mph. His delivery has funk and a wide release point helps the pitch get on top of hitters, showing effective late tail down in the zone. Unfortunately, Jay’s command was spotty, and the fastball flattens out and is hittable when elevated. His mechanics have changed due to injury, and despite his age, Jay doesn’t have much pro mound time–there’s room to project the command to future fringe-average, giving the heater the chance to grade as an average pitch in time. A hard slider at 85-to-87 mph is his only off-speed pitch, and like the fastball, it’s a fringy/average pitch that needs to finish down in the zone to be effective.
Jay projects to get weak contact with two average pitches and fringy command and control out of the pen. There is upside for leverage if the arm is still rebounding and his velocity and command tick up, but the injury history and state of the stuff land a more conservative middle relief projection.