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2017 BYB Tigers Prospect #20: RHP Myles Jaye provides depth to the Tigers’ rotation

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He’s not flashy, but decent command and four pitches make Jaye a useful spot starter.

Los Angeles Dodgers v Texas Rangers Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

Myles Jaye came to the Detroit Tigers last spring in a deal that sent catcher Bryan Holaday to Texas. In just about every way, Jaye is a prototypical right-handed spot-start candidate. With decent command and a broad, though not deep, set of pitches, Jaye is as effective as that command allows him to be. He won’t survive in the majors on his stuff alone. With very little projection left, he is barely a prospect at this point, but he is also likely to be called on to back up the Tigers’ rotation in 2017.

There remains a bit of optimism about Jaye. At age 24, he made real strides in his ability to miss bats while retaining his good walk rates. His 3.59 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 21 starts at Double-A Erie was a career-best. While his potential is all but maxed out, even a slight improvement in the consistency of his secondary pitches could make him a viable fifth starter at the major league level. More likely, however, he will max out as a middle relief or sixth starter type.

Strengths

Jaye’s best attribute is the command he shows over a solid fastball/slider pairing. He sits in the low-90s with his two-seam fastball, showing some touch for changing his speeds low in the zone with it. The pitch has average life, so his ability to throw strikes without leaving pitches near the center of the strike zone is going to be sorely tested at the major league level. So far, consistent great command has been elusive for Jaye, and without it, it’s hard to project much of a career in the major league level. But it is good enough to avoid any issues with walks.

John Sickels of Minor League Ball ranked Jaye 12th among Tigers prospects this year, while sounding some hints of optimism about his viability in the major leagues.

[Jaye has] average stuff across the board with 90-93 MPH fastball, viable slider and change-up, good command and control; typical right-hander with adequate but not excellent fastball that doesn’t excite scouts but who could sneak up on us due to his command. ETA late 2017.

A few final notes in Jaye’s favor come on the basis of his minor league numbers. Jaye doesn’t give up too many home runs. For a guy who leans on his two-seamer, that is a necessary thing to note. Secondly, Jaye’s strikeout rate jumped substantially this past season by over a strikeout per nine innings at the Double-A level. While those gains weakened a little with the Mud Hens, they were still present, with a solid 2.58 strikeout-to-walk ratio. That’s a good enough foundation for a ground ball pitcher if he can continue to keep the ball in the park in the major leagues.

Eric Longenhagen of FanGraphs sees Jaye’s potential as a backend starter if he can make gains in his consistency.

Jaye is a nearly-there righty with average fastball/slider combination and great pitch utility. He also has a fringe change and curveball. The stuff plays when Jaye is commanding his repertoire but reports on the control are inconsistent.

Weaknesses

While Jaye’s strikeouts improved, he still doesn’t have the stuff to fool hitters at the major league level. Some evaluators graded his slider as a 50, or MLB average, offering, but not everyone agreed. His slider and changeup may have progressed a bit this season, but TigsTown’s Mark Anderson still considers both to be fringe-average at best offerings.

Jaye’s slider and changeup can work in spurts, but are designed more to keep hitters off balance than miss bats.

As a fine prospect evaluation site devoted solely to the Tigers, we’ll give TigsTown the last word on Jaye’s secondaries. Particularly for a guy with little to no development or mechanical adjustments left to make, consistency is probably the key word with Jaye. It may be that guys who saw Jaye semi-regularly have the best bead on the consistency and value of his secondary pitches. Without a single plus offering between his slider, curve and changeup, Jaye is going to have to exhibit strong command of at least two of them to pitch in the majors.

The other issue to note with Jaye revolves around his 2016 BABIP results. For a ground ball pitcher especially, the vagaries of minor league defenders can wreak a little extra havoc with a pitcher’s WHIP and ERA. Jaye hasn’t experienced those issues, as his .248 BABIP in seven Triple-A starts helped buoy a 3.69 ERA. There is little chance that pitching in front of the Tigers’ middle infield is going be of any help to him.

Projected 2017 team: Toledo Mud Hens

As the eighth or ninth starter on the Tigers food chain (depending on how you feel about Buck Farmer) Jaye will start the season in Toledo. His role with the big club will be defined by the viability of Anibal Sanchez and Mike Pelfrey. If one of them is moved, Jaye will be close to assured of getting his first time in the major leagues in 2017. His advanced command may well favor him as the more likely pitcher to be ready for a call-up, while the streakier Farmer will probably have to be hot at the moment, despite better stuff, to be ready on short notice.