Eau Claire, Wis.— Two former members of the Eau Claire Express were drafted in the third round of the 2016 MLB Draft on Friday afternoon. Pitcher Griffin Jax and outfielder Alex Call each heard their names called at the draft, each earning a chance to play in the major league systems.
Griffin Jax, a junior at the Air Force Academy, played just three weeks for the Express last summer during his three week leave from cadet duties. During the summer of 2015, Jax started three games, earning a 1-0 overall record while holding a 2.37 ERA. In 19 innings pitched, Jax struck out 15 opposing hitters while in Eau Claire.
The neighboring Minnesota Twins drafted Jax with the No. 93 overall pick in the third round. He had an excellent junior season at Air Force, finishing the season with a 9-2 overall record and an impressive 2.05 ERA. He struck out a team-leading 90 batters in his career high 105.1 innings pitched. Jax was selected as the 2016 Mountain West co-Pitcher of the Year and was on the All-Mouintain West First team for his dominant season on the mound.
Jax is no stranger to the MLB Draft, as the Philadelphia Phillies selected him in the 12th round in 2013 as a senior in high school. Instead of pursuing a professional career at that time, he opted to attend Air Force to hone his pitching craft.
Alex Call was selected just seven picks before Jax in the third round. Call, an outfielder from Ball State, was also drafted by an AL Central team, the Chicago White Sox, with the 86th overall pick in the third round.
Call has been a consistent playmaker at the plate for Ball State in his junior season, finishing the year with a .358 average. Call hit 13 homers, 44 RBIs and held a 1.110 OPS in 58 games in 2016. He originally hails from River Falls, Wisconsin.
Call had a longer stint with the Express, donning the black and orange in 15 games during the summer of 2014. During his time in Eau Claire, Call hit .314 with a .392 slugging percentage and a .760 OPS. He had 13 RBI’s on 16 hits, and added 7 runs while appearing in the outfield defensively for manager Dale Varsho.
Both Jax and Call will hope to earn a minor league contract and work through the farm systems to get a shot in the MLB. The 2016 Draft continues tonight (rounds 4-10) and tomorrow (rounds 10-40), where the Express will hope to have several more current and former players selected to major league squads.
Season tickets, 5-Game Packs, and single-game tickets are on sale now for Express home games. The all-new 5-Game Pack includes a reserved ticket along with food and beverage for three innings for five of the biggest promotional nights of the 2016 season all for only $45.00. All tickets can be purchased by calling the Express office at 715-839-7788 or by stopping at the downtown office at 102 E. Grand Ave.
The Eau Claire Express are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. Playing its 23rd season of summer collegiate baseball in 2016, the Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 18 teams, drawing significantly more fans, in a friendly ballpark experience, than any league of its kind. A valuable training ground for coaches, umpires and front office staff, more than 150 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (CWS), Jordan Zimmermann (DET), Curtis Granderson (NYM), Lucas Duda (NYM) and Ben Zobrist (CHC). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League Website. For more information, visit www.eauclaireexpress.com.