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Article: Griffin Jax's Baseball Career Resumes

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#1 Seth Stohs

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Posted 05 May 2018 - 03:12 PM

It’s complex. It’s confusing. But the most important thing for Griffin Jax and the Minnesota Twins, Jax can play baseball in the Minnesota Twins organization, just like all of the other prospects. Well, very similar to other Twins prospects.

Recently, the Twins draft pick learned that he will be able to remain on active duty with the military while training with the Minnesota Twins organization because of the Air Force’s World Class Athlete program.

(For more background on Griffin Jax, here is a Q&A he did with Twins Daily in January 2017.)When the Twins made Griffin Jax their third-round draft choice in 2016, he became the highest player ever selected from the Air Force. At the time, it was assumed that Jax would be able to play full-time upon his graduation in May of 2017. That was something that was allowed for athletes, to immediately pursue a professional career after graduation.

However, in April of 2017, the Department of Defense changed its policy. Now it would be required to serve two years of active duty after graduation before a person could even apply to serve out their time on reserve status for the purpose of playing pro sports.

Jax, who pitched in four games for Elizabethton in 2016 after the draft, figured he would only be able to pitch in the Twins organization during his leaves from his active duty. Last summer, he pitched one game for Elizabethton before making four starts for the Cedar Rapids Kernels. Having graduated, he was assigned to serve in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The assumption was that he would do the same in 2018 and maybe even 2019.

However, in December Jax applied for the military’s World Class Athlete Program which allows active-duty military personnel to make training for the Olympics their full-time responsibility. Because of Jax’s draft position and his signing bonus, he was able to fit the “World Class Athlete” criteria. Also, because baseball is again an Olympic sport Jax can be training toward that goal.

That’s complex, but it gets even more confusing in a way because military personnel can’t earn a second income. In other words, the Twins could not pay Jax to play for the organization. That’s why it took from December (when Jax applied for the program) until into April (when Jax was approved). Finally, an agreement was made that the Twins could “outfit, feed and cover Jax’s travel.” However, the Air Force will pay him.

Jax made his way to Ft. Myers on April 24th to begin his extended spring training. On Friday, Jax threw his first live batting practice. It’s something he will likely do another time or two over the next week. At that point, he may make a start or two in EST games. And then he should be assigned to a full-season roster. After just four starts in Cedar Rapids in 2017, he could go there. Depending on where he’s at, he could jump directly to the Ft. Myers Miracle.

All that is to be determined over the next week or two. For now, Jax is just excited to be back on the mound and to have some resolution to his situation.

As he told The Gazette (Colorado Springs) after the decision, “It was just an awesome feeling hearing, 'yes,' finally.”

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#2 Broker

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Posted 05 May 2018 - 03:21 PM

This is very interesting news.

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#3 MN_ExPat

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Posted 05 May 2018 - 03:39 PM

Congrats to him. Glad to see him able to fulfill both his service obligation and go back to following his dream. Good luck brother and Godspeed. 

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#4 Tuba

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Posted 05 May 2018 - 06:06 PM

That is really interesting. Does the military pay better than the minors? Maybe you'll see some minor leaguers enlisting!  

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#5 Brandon

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Posted 05 May 2018 - 06:44 PM

So he will make 3 k a month give or take. Is he enlisted or an officer? Officer is around 50k depending on rank. Pay scale is available online as it goes by a set scale.
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#6 Thrylos

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Posted 05 May 2018 - 06:51 PM

Bet he will make better $ paid by the Air Force instead of getting paid by the Twins...

 

Good news.Let's see how it goes.

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#7 clutterheart

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Posted 05 May 2018 - 06:57 PM

What a weird arrangement. But whatever.
Good luck to him
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#8 Seth Stohs

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Posted 05 May 2018 - 08:21 PM

Certainly he would make more money from the Air Force, but that's obviously not what this is about... It's about making him eligible to be a part of the World Class Athlete Program and getting him to the Twins to train. 

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#9 jokin

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Posted 05 May 2018 - 08:23 PM

 

So he will make 3 k a month give or take. Is he enlisted or an officer? Officer is around 50k depending on rank. Pay scale is available online as it goes by a set scale.

 

Virtually all Air Force Academy graduates get commissions as officers. Nice pay scale for Jax while he waits for his MLB call-up. (Some time after the 2020 Olympics?).

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#10 gil4

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Posted 05 May 2018 - 10:09 PM

 

So he will make 3 k a month give or take. Is he enlisted or an officer? Officer is around 50k depending on rank. Pay scale is available online as it goes by a set scale.

WhenI checked, I think he was a 1st Lieutenant (O-2). $3850 + $250 + housing (1400 - 2200, depending on which base in FL he is stationed at - I think it was Patrick AFB.)

 

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#11 terrydactyls1947

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Posted 06 May 2018 - 09:43 AM

I guess I am the only person interested in how he does on the field and not how much he's paid.
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#12 rdehring

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Posted 06 May 2018 - 09:50 AM

 

I guess I am the only person interested in how he does on the field and not how much he's paid.

No, you are not.But I do expect part of the deal the Air Force worked out with him is that if the Twins pay his housing, travel, etc., the Air Force won't be paying his housing allowance.

 

More important, however, is that this is FANTASTIC news for both Jax and the Twins.He has a lot of talent which can now begin being developed.Don't know where he will start his season, but expect he will end it back in Florida with the Miracle.


#13 Mike Sixel

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Posted 06 May 2018 - 11:23 AM

Didn't see that coming! Good luck to him.

There's always next year, or the next, or maybe by the time I'm Chief's age, I guess....


#14 darin617

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Posted 06 May 2018 - 04:01 PM

So what does this all mean if he would make the majors in 2-3 years when he still has the military commitment?


#15 gunnarthor

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Posted 06 May 2018 - 04:13 PM

 

So what does this all mean if he would make the majors in 2-3 years when he still has the military commitment?

That's unlikely to be a problem we will have to concern ourselves with.

 

The reality is, Jax is 23 years old (he's one month younger than Kohl Stewart) and hasn't thrown 40 innings since the Twins drafted him. He's made four starts in low A ball. He's really not a prospect anymore but more a feel-good story.


#16 DocBauer

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Posted 06 May 2018 - 04:51 PM

Good news for him and the Twins. There are so very few military personnel that would ever truly be affected by a legitimate chance to play professional sports that I always felt a workable solution for something like this, or finishing their comitment in a reserve capacity made the most sense. It also can be used as a recruiting tool. For example, when David Robinson was allowed to do so, DID anyone, anywhere, not know about his Navy backstory? His nickname was the Admiral for goodness sake.

Now, how his overall prospect status has been affected is probably too hard to define. He does/did have some potential. Teams will take talented players wherever they can get them. If he turns out to be a quality pitcher at 27 instead of 24-25, I don't think the Twins, or anyone else, would simply turn a blind eye.

But it IS a good story.
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#17 Mike Sixel

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Posted 06 May 2018 - 07:26 PM

Probably should make him a RP, given his age and how little he has pitched

There's always next year, or the next, or maybe by the time I'm Chief's age, I guess....


#18 tarheeltwinsfan

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Posted 06 May 2018 - 07:47 PM

I may be the only one asking this question, but I feel it needs to be asked. The taxpayers paid for Jax to attend the Air Force Academy because he signed a contract and swore an oath to protect and defend the United States of America for 4 years in the Air Force after graduating from the U.S. Air Force Academy. Now, less than 1 year after his graduation,the taxpayers are paying Jax's salary, not to serve in the Air Force the remaining 3 years of his commitment, but rather the taxpayers are paying him $50,000 a year to play minor league baseball because he is a world class baseball player? Just asking.


#19 MN_ExPat

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Posted 06 May 2018 - 08:01 PM

 

That's unlikely to be a problem we will have to concern ourselves with.

 

The reality is, Jax is 23 years old (he's one month younger than Kohl Stewart) and hasn't thrown 40 innings since the Twins drafted him. He's made four starts in low A ball. He's really not a prospect anymore but more a feel-good story.

What???

 

We could say the same of any draft pick as there is no such thing as a "sure thing", and yes that means even the chosen one that is known as Royce. But I have to ask, and yes I know I will regret this... but what the heck does that even mean? Do you not like the fact that his obligation to his country has prohibited him, until now, to throw lots of innings in the minors?  

 

The guys has loads of talent given his high draft status and for you to so cavalierly sit there and declare him "not a prospect" because of his "advanced age" of 23 years and lack of innings thus far... well you'll have to excuse me for coming to the defense of my fellow brothers in arms.

 

In closing, I apologize in advance if I misinterpreted your statement, if I did not... please do not speak ill of those who serve. It does not sit well with me.

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#20 Seth Stohs

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Posted 06 May 2018 - 08:30 PM

 

So what does this all mean if he would make the majors in 2-3 years when he still has the military commitment?

 

Baseball is essentially his full time job... he's on active duty until (I believe) May of 2019. 

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