James Griffin Jax...Instagram: @young_garth22...is a Captain in the United States Air Force Reserves, after being promoted in June 2021...his wife, Savannah, is an intelligence officer in the Air Force Reserves...when he debuted, became the first U.S. Air Force Academy graduate to play in the majors...he was already the first Air Force graduate to play above Single-A...nine total players have been drafted out of the Academy (Jax was the sixth)...rated the 95th-best prospect entering the 2016 draft by Baseball America... finished his junior season at the U.S. Air Force Academy, going 9-2 with a school record 2.05 ERA (105.1 IP, 24 ER), 20 walks and 90 strikeouts in 15 starts...in 2016, was named the Mountain West co-Pitcher of the Year and All-Mountain West First-Team after leading the MWC in ERA, innings, complete games (6) and shutouts (2)...in three seasons with the Falcons went 15-20 with a 4.28 ERA (298.2 IP, 142 ER), 76 walks and 205 strikeouts in 46 appearances (44 starts)...is the son of former NFL offensive lineman Garth Jax, who spent 11 years playing between Arizona and Dallas...was originally drafted by the Phillies in the 12th round of the 2013 First-Year Player Draft after being named the 2013 Gatorade Player of the Year in Colorado and a Louisville Slugger High School First-Team All-American...went 7-1, 1.74 ERA with 57 strikeouts and two walks as a senior for Cherry Creek High School in 2013...wore uniform number 83 during rookie year, the first player or coach to do so in club history; changed to 65 prior to 2022 season...changed to number 22 during 2022-23 offseason...if he wasn’t a baseball player, his career would be as an accountant...participated in 2023 TwinsFest at Target Field in January.
Was in Twins spring training and optioned to Triple-A St. Paul April 7...Began season with Saints and appeared in one game prior to being recalled by Minnesota April 12 (Jorge Alcala - IL)…Pitched exclusively out of the Twins bullpen after beginning Major League career in starting role in 2021...Earned first career save April 28 vs. Detroit, pitching 3.0 shutout innings, a season-high...Became one of club’s primary setup men in May and earned first career hold May 2 at Baltimore...Went 1-2, 1.38 ERA (13.0 IP, 2 ER) with one walk, 18 strikeouts and a .098 opponent batting average in 12 June games...19 of final 23 appearances on season were scoreless from Aug. 13-Oct. 3 (1.71 ERA)…Struck out at least one batter in 51 of 65 outings and multiple batters in 23 outings...Allowed just one home run in final 23 appearances from Aug. 13-Oct. 3 (Sept. 7 at New York-AL - Gleyber Torres)…Twins went 38-27 in games in which he appeared, a .585 winning percentage, second-highest among Twins pitchers (Jhoan Duran - .719)…Held left-handed batters to a .189 average, compared to .224 against right-handed hitters...Opponents hit .187 (28-for-150) with 56 strikeouts against his slider...Posted a breaking pitch average velocity of 86.1 mph, a 3.6 mph increase compared to 2021 (82.5 mph), the fourth-best improvement in baseball...Threw fastball at average speed of 95.4 mph, a 2.8 mph increase compared to 2021 (92.6 mph), the highest in baseball, ahead of teammate Jorge López (second place - 2.3 mph increase)…Ranked in the 86th percentile in baseball in fastball spin rate at 2391...ranked in the 87th percentile in baseball in chase rate at 33.3%...Ranked 14th among AL relievers in strikeouts (78)…Tied for first on Twins staff in holds (18), along with Jhoan Duran and Caleb Thielbar...ranked second on club in appearances (65)...led all Twins relievers in innings pitched (72.1).
Was an invite to Twins spring training, the first of his career; reassigned to minor league camp on March 23...Began season at Triple-A St. Paul and was the Saints’ number four starter, opening his season on May 7 vs. Omaha, allowing one run on four hits in 5.0 innings pitched, with three walks and two strikeouts (ND)...Made five starts for the Saints in May and had contract selected by Minnesota on June 5, the first of four stints with the Twins on the season...was also notified about his promotion to Captain in the Air Force on June 5, his first day in the majors...Made major league debut on June 8 vs. New York-AL, pitching 1.0 inning of relief, allowing three runs on three hits, with one strikeout...fanned Tyler Wade for first career strikeout...Earned first major league win on June 25 vs. Cleveland, allowing three runs on three hits in 4.1 innings of relief in a Twins 8-7 victory...Made first major league start on July 3 at Kansas City, allowing six runs on eight hits in 5.0 innings pitched and was dealt the loss...Transferred back and forth from Minnesota to St. Paul from late June to late July but eventually became part of Twins starting rotation from July 30 to end of season...Went 2-0, 2.73 ERA (26.1 IP, 8 ER) with seven walks, 21 strikeouts, and a .188 (18-for-96) opponent batting average in -five-start span (2 QS) from July 19-Aug. 16, including wins in back-to-back starts on Aug. 5 at Houston and Aug. 10 vs. Chicago-AL...Set season and career-high with 10 strikeouts on Aug. 10 vs. Chicago-AL (6.0 IP, 83 pitches)...became first Twins rookie with 10-plus strikeout game since Trevor May on Sept. 14, 2014, at Chicago-AL (also 10 K)...also became the second Twins pitcher since at least 1988 with at least 10 strikeouts and 83-or-fewer pitches thrown in a start, joining José Berríos (11 K, 81 pitches) on July 31, 2019, at Miami...Became the first player or coach in Twins history (since 1961) to wear uniform number 83...Named recipient of 2021 Bob Feller Act of Valor Award; presented with award prior to nightcap on September 14 vs. Cleveland...award honors major leaguer who embodies spirit of late Hall of Famer Bob Feller, both in terms of commitment to country and love for baseball...Combined to go 8-6, 5.50 ERA (122.2 IP, 75 ER) with 45 walks, 101 strikeouts and .252 opponent batting average in 26 games between St. Paul and Minnesota.
Did not play an official professional game and was left off the Twins’ 60-man Player Pool...Participated in Twins Fall Instructional League during October in Ft. Myers, FL.
Began season with Double-A Pensacola...named Southern League Pitcher of the Week twice with Blue Wahoos: May 5 (1-0, 0.75 ERA, 12.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 BB, 7 K) and June 30 (1-0, 0.69 ERA, 13.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 BB, 8 K)...Named Southern League Midseason All-Star...went 2-2, 1.92 ERA (51.2 IP, 11 ER) with 11 walks and 34 strikeouts in 10 starts pre-break...Promoted to Triple-A Rochester August 6 for three starts, going 1-2, 4.50 ERA (16.0 IP, 8 ER) with three walks and 10 strikeouts...Transferred back to Pensacola August 20 and made two starts to finish the season...Combined to go 5-7, 2.90 ERA (127.1 IP, 41 ER) with 27 walks and 94 strikeouts in 23 starts between the two levels...held right-handed batters to a .225 batting average and left-handers to a .264 average...Named best control in Twins minor league system by Baseball America following season.
Spent the season with Single-A Ft. Myers after being activated from the Military List on June 1...allowed three earned runs or fewer in nine of his first 10 appearances with a 3.41 ERA (60.2 IP, 23 ER)...played for Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, going 1-1, 3.86 ERA (21.0 IP, 9 ER) with 11 walks and 14 strikeouts in six games (5 starts)...following season was named Air Force Academy Male Athlete of the Year
Made five starts between Rookie-Elizabethton and Single-A Cedar Rapids, combining to go 2-2, 2.61 ERA (31.0 IP, 9 ER) with seven walks and 20 strikeouts...placed on Military List July 26 for remainder of season.
Began professional career with Rookie-Elizabethton, appearing in four games, all in relief, striking out eight in 8.2 innings pitched.