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Run on college relievers continues with lefty Clay

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Run on college relievers continues with lefty Clay

The Twins continued to stockpile college relievers by taking Georgia Tech left-hander Sam Clay as the No. 110 overall pick in the fourth round of Friday's First-Year Player Draft.

It marked the third straight college reliever taken by the Twins, as they also took hard-throwing right-handers Nick Burdi and Michael Cederoth with their second and third round picks, respectively.

Clay, 20, had a solid sophomore season at Georgia Tech, posting a 1.33 ERA with 63 strikeouts and 28 walks in 54 1/3 innings. His 1.26 ERA was the second-lowest ERA in Georgia Tech history for a pitcher with at least 40 innings. The 6-foot-3, 205-pounder was eligible for the Draft as a sophomore because he turns 21 on June 21.

"We really like Sam Clay," Twins scouting director Deron Johnson said. "He's a left-hander with a good arm. One of our scouts has seen him up to 95 [mph] but he's more of a 90-93 guy. But he has a good breaking ball."

Clay has started only once in his college career, and he made big strides as a sophomore after posting a 6.94 ERA with 17 strikeouts and 20 walks in 23 1/3 innings as a freshman.

He was a two-sport star at Buford High School in Georgia, winning state football titles his freshman, sophomore and junior seasons before finishing as runner-up as a senior in 2012. The former quarterback switched his focus to baseball at Georgia Tech, and he put it all together with a strong sophomore season.

Clay's fastball isn't as overpowering as Burdi's or Cederoth's, as it sits in the low-90s and can touch the mid-90s. His hard slider is his best secondary pitch, but he also possesses a curveball and a changeup.

Clay, given his rawness as a pitcher, will need to work on his command and his control in the Minor Leagues. Johnson added that he believes Clay will sign despite being only a sophomore.

The Draft concludes on Saturday, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 beginning on MLB.com at 12 p.m. CT.

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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{"event":["draft_central" ,"prospect" ] }
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