In a masterful performance this afternoon against the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (Dodgers), Jacob Nix, who came in ninth on our Top 50 Prospects list released last week, narrowly missed perfection, tossing a two-hit, complete game shutout.
The twenty-one year old right-hander was making just his sixth start of the season after a groin injury kept him in extended spring training until late May, but you wouldn’t have known it watching him today as he displayed a combination of maturity and dominance that is generally reserved for more experienced pitchers.
Each of the first three innings were pretty similar; the first two batters would get out by putting the ball in play and then Nix would finish off the side with an authoritative strikeout. By the time the next two innings were completed, Nix had faced the minimum number of batters without allowing a single baserunner.
It was then that, contrary to the unwritten rules of baseball, one of the Quakes’ commentators began to discuss the perfect game. Here at Padres Prospectus, we’re not overly superstitious, but, as Michael Scott once echoed, we are “a little stitious”. An anagram of “J. Nix” is “jinx”, so, seeing that Nix had put a spell on the Rancho Cucamonga bats, they implemented a jinx of their own.
He looked to be cruising through the sixth inning, striking out the first two batters, when in a stroke of poor fortune, Victor Roache hit a single to left field to break up Nix’ perfect game bid. With the next batter at the plate, catcher Kyle Overstreet gunned down Roache in a steal attempt, bringing the sixth inning to a close with Nix requiring only 71 pitches to retire 18 batters.
Pitching with efficiency, the Storm left Nix in for the remainder of the game. He allowed one additional hit, a double to kick off the 8th, and struck out three batters on only thirty additional pitches.
The fact that Nix was facing a second place Quakes team that consists of three of the organizations top position players, including MLB Pipeline’s number 92 prospect Yusniel Diaz, only highlights how truly impressive Nix’ day was. Even more impressive than that was that Nix struck out eleven batters while not issuing a single walk.
Ultimately, it wasn’t a perfect day on the box score, but the Padres organization couldn’t have hoped for a more dominant start out of Nix this early on in his High-A career.