#18 - Jay Sborz

In the 2003 Draft, the Tigers started off safe, selecting the top college pitcher in the draft – RHP Kyle Sleeth out of Wake Forest. However, in the second round the Tigers decided to take a gamble, selecting big righty Jay Sborz right of high school. His size and fastball force comparisons to Curt Schilling, but Sborz needs serious work on his control before he can reach that level. Sborz is a big high-risk, high-reward player.

Jay Sborz was the Tigers second round draft pick in the 2003 Draft out of Langley H.S. in Great Falls, VA. Sborz was close to dominating in high school, as he simply over-matched all of his competition. Because of his body and fastball, he drew comparisons to Red Sox star Curt Schilling coming out of high school.

Unlike Sleeth, who was shut down for the season after being drafted by the Tigers, Sborz pitched some for the Gulf Coast League Tigers, their rookie team. Sborz pitched exactly as many expected – promising but extremely inconsistent. His record and ERA were nothing to brag about – 0-2 with a 4.85 ERA, but his other numbers are extremely promising: a 2.5 to 1 K:BB ratio as well as an amazing 12.1 K's/9 IP.

Like stated, Sborz could make his way to the top of the Tigers rotation some day, as he has the makeup to be a top starter in bigs. However, if he seems to struggle over long stretches on the field, a move to the bullpen as a potential closer wouldn't be out of the question.

Sborz main attribute is fireball fastball, which is regularly clocked 94-96 MPH. Sborz only other mentionable pitch right now is an under-construction curveball, right now it needs serious work. The Tigers will probably wait until he gets more control of his curveball before attempting to have him work seriously with a third pitch, but for him to become a successful big-league starter, he'll need a third pitch.

Sborz will probably start the season at low-A West Michigan; however, the Tigers might decide they'd like to see him put more work in at extended Spring Training, which would mean he'd play this season for short season-A Oneonta. The Tigers would prefer he go and pitch for a full season, but with him so young and raw it's highly unlikely they'll rush him if they don't think he's ready.

Sborz is a long ways away from making an impact, and while he hasn't done anything amazing as far as actual on-field production, he has the arm that very few prospects do. Sborz could become an excellent starter for the Tigers, or he could become nothing more than a promising arm that never developed. Far too early to tell, but it's definitely hard to argue against the 95 MPH fastball.

Tigs Town Top Stories