Thursday, February 23, 2017

Tigers get glimpse of prospect Jaye's potential in exhibition

 Myles Jaye wasn't at Spring Training with the Tigers last year. Detroit couldn't keep catcher Bryan Holaday, who was out of Minor League options, so it traded him to the Rangers and picked up Jaye in return.
Perhaps it was fitting, then, that Jaye started the Tigers' Spring Training schedule this year. With two frames in Thursday's 8-0 exhibition win over Florida Southern College, Jaye opened a spring slate that could end with the Tigers facing two more decisions like they had with Holaday.
Jaye split last year between Double-A Erie and Triple-A Toledo, posting a 5-12 record and a 3.95 ERA with 135 strikeouts over 161 2/3 innings. He ranks 16th on MLB Pipeline's latest list of Top 30 Tigers prospects, with the potential as a back-end starter.
The 25-year-old right-hander gave up a ground-ball single and a leadoff walk to go along with a strikeout in his two innings on Thursday, but he induced four groundouts and erased one of his runners with a pickoff.
"I think his crossfire [delivery] makes him sneaky on hitters," manager Brad Ausmus said. "I think he's probably got the ability to pitch up. I do like his slider when he throws it with a tight rotation. I don't think it looks very similar spinwise to his fastball. You still want to see big league hitters react to him, guys that have a little more experience."
Meanwhile, shortstop prospect Dixon Machado and corner outfielder Steven Moya -- like Holaday -- are out of options. Machado and Moya could be more blocked than Holaday was last spring. The Tigers let Holaday compete for the backup catching spot while working at third base and the outfield, then traded him near the end of camp when Texas needed an understudy for Robinson Chirinos.
Like they did with Holaday, expect the Tigers to wait until the end of camp to decide on Machado and Moya. Though general manager Al Avila said some teams have already put their out-of-options players on waivers to gauge interest, he wants to let camp play out.
Moya went 1-for-2 with two RBIs, while Machado added a hit in Thursday's exhibition.
One Major League scout following the Tigers said he suspects Moya would have a better chance at clearing waivers than Machado, given his positional limitations. If not, expect Avila to try to work out similar deals. The return could be important to building depth in the farm system.
"You always have the injury factor, so that might take care of a decision right there," Avila said last week.

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