Former Air Force pitcher Griffin Jax made his Class A debut for the Cedar Rapids Kernels in dominating fashion Tuesday afternoon, July 2. The recent USAFA graduate tossed seven scoreless innings, allowing just three base hits in his promotion from extended spring training and rookie ball.
Jax (1-0) led Cedar Rapids to a 3-0 win over the Clinton LumberKings, the Class A affiliate of the Seattle Mariners. Jax struck out four and walked one.
Jax was upbeat about his first game for Cedar Rapids.
“There’s definitely a competition jump from the Appalachian league”, Jax said. “The hitters are more disciplined compared to rookie ball. The hitters I faced today were very selective and didn’t swing at perfect pitches. They waited for mistakes and didn’t miss when they swung. I’ve never been a pitcher to get deep into counts so I feel like I have an advantage if I can get into favorable counts and prevent situations where I have to give in to a batter. I was able to do that today.”
Upon graduating from the Academy on May 24, Jax began his 2017 season by working out at the Minnesota Twins Spring Training complex in Ft. Myers, Fla. After building his arm strength up, Jax was assigned to the Elizabethton Twins, the Appalachian League (Rookie League) affiliate of the Twins. Jax make one start for Elizabethton last week before making the move up to the Class A Midwest League for today’s start. Jax also pitched for Elizabethton last summer in 2016.
Jax credits his time working out in Ft. Myers for helping prepare his quick advancement up the Twins farm system.
“My time with the Twins has definitely helped,” Jax said. “The Twins take a huge stance on growth mindset training, which means that you should take everything you know and then grow from each experience to keep polishing yourself. This has helped me a ton because I can always reflect and realize what I have to do the next time.”
As a recently commissioned Second Lieutenant in the Air Force, Jax is allowed to play for the Twins organization during his 60 days of leave time upon graduation. He is slated to report to Cape Canaveral Air Force Base, Fla., soon to begin his career has an acquisitions officer.
“I know my time is still limited, so I’m using every second to my advantage,” Jax remarked. “I know I will be reporting to the Air Force in a few weeks so I’m using that as motivation to leave the biggest impact possible so that I can return on just as strong a note. Getting to play baseball professionally is a dream come true. Its a dream I’ve had since I was little, and I plan on taking every second and appreciating it doing my best.”
Adam Groesbeck Update
Jax’s classmate Adam Groesbeck is currently playing Rookie League ball for the Gulf Coast League (GCL) Braves. Groesbeck was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the 38th round of the 2017 MLB draft. Groesbeck, an outfielder, has appeared in three games so far for the GCL Braves, posting a run, RBI and two walks in eight plate appearances.