Jason Tyner is no stranger to milestones, having played in parts of five seasons in the Major Leagues. However, the current Rochester Red Wings leadoff hitter, who hit .321 after a September call-up to the Twins last season, added another memorable moment to his baseball career during the first half of the 2006 season. The speedy Tyner put together a career-high 17 game hitting streak during the month of May, which caught the attention of all of Minor League Baseball.
Tyner was somewhat of a big deal when he was drafted 21st overall by the New York Mets in the 1998 draft. From there, the former Texas A&M star would skyrocket through the Minor League, being called up by the Mets during the 2000 season. After batting only .195 in 13 games, Tyner would be traded along with Paul Wilson to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, where he batted .241 to close out the 2000 regular season.
After beginning the season with Durham of the International League, Tyner received a promotion back to the Devil Rays, where he showed flashes of the talented leadoff hitter that was once deemed untouchable by the New York Mets. He batted .280 after his call-up to the Rays, and swiped 31 bases in 105 games. After that short stint of stardom, Tyner fell on hard times, and would be shuttled back and forth from the Majors to the Minors for the next two years.
He was claimed by the Texas Rangers off waivers in 2003, but his stint with the team lasted only four months before he was released. From there, Tyner made two more stops before coming to the Twins, one quick stint with the Richmond Braves (Atlanta Braves Triple-A affiliate), and one more with the Buffalo Bison (Cleveland Indians Triple-A affiliate). He was granted free agency by the Indians following the 2004 season, and the Twins quickly picked him up.
Since coming over to the Twins, Tyner has been quite the sparkplug at the top of the Rochester Red Wings lineup. He batted a respectable .286 last season, driving in a career-high 36 runs, while swiping 18 bases. He finished fourth in the International League with 150 hits, and his 524 at-bats were also good enough for fourth in the league. This season however, Tyner has raised his game up a notch, and has paced the Rochester Red Wings to a first place spot in the International League North.
In 2006, Tyner has been consistent with the bat since day 1, proving that the 17-game hitting streak was no fluke. After a slow April, mostly due to the harsh weather conditions of upstate New York, Tyner went on to bat .380 during the month of May, the month which encompassed the hit streak. For the month, Tyner lifted his batting average from .236 to .320, and posted 11 multi-hit games.
In June, Tyner was once again over the .300 mark, posting a .312 batting average in 28 games. Still streaking, Tyner is batting a robust .464 for the month of July, and you have to start wondering whether he could help out a Major League team at this point.
One thing is for sure, when the Twins expand their roster Tyner will be right back in the thick of things, and hopefully is given the chance to contribute at the Major League level some time soon.