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Draft  | Story  | 7/2/2021

Miner Preparing For Major Month of July

Sam Warren     
Photo: Jace Miner (Miner family)
For most of his high school career, Jace Miner has focused on one goal: playing college baseball. As of now, it’s safe to say that Miner has achieved that goal, as the left-handed pitcher is headed to Wichita State in the fall to play for the Shockers. However, some newfound dexterity may open him up to a new opportunity he didn’t think would come so soon.
Miner, a 2021 grad from Reynoldsville, Pa., hit 95 mph on his fastball in mid-June while pitching for the East Coast Sandhogs at the 2021 Perfect Game 17u Central Pennsylvania Elite Summer Championship, drawing attention from players, coaches and scouts alike. The No. 81 left-handed arm in the 2021 class is bound to move up in rankings, as his new top velocity becomes even more enticing considering which arm he throws with. The velocity has Miner shooting up big boards for next month’s MLB Draft, possibly giving him an opportunity he didn’t expect until after college.
“The draft wasn’t in our thoughts for a while until that event in Pennsylvania,” Miner said. “That’s when my phone started blowing up. It’s been really cool, but I’ve also had to learn a lot of things about the draft in just a short amount of time.”
Miner credits the additional zip on his ball to hard work and training this summer, motivated by a performance that would please most but wasn’t good enough for the lefty. At the 2021 PG 17u Super25 Mid-Atlantic Regional in Staten Island, New York, earlier this June, Miner threw a complete game against the 17 NY Prospects JP, striking out 12 on his way to a five-inning no-hitter. Yet Miner wasn’t happy, as he gave up five walks, and his fastball stagnated at 91 mph. Driven by the performance, Miner worked to build his velocity and gain control to push his game to another level.
“After Staten Island, I wasn’t really happy with how my velo was,” Miner said. “It was kind of just something, not something special. So I went into the next week trying to hit something I’d never hit before and worked my butt off.”
Working his butt off is nothing new to Miner or his family. Jace’s father, Keith, was a professional MMA fighter with Bellator experience, and Jace’s mother, Marisol, is a personal trainer. With the help of his parents, Jace has developed a rigorous training program for himself, including a stretching routine, plyometric training, long toss, arm care and weightlifting to increase his explosivity. Having been working out since seventh grade, Miner attributes his work ethic and a lot of the gains in his performance to his parents and their extensive training knowledge.
“My parents know what it takes to get to the next level,” Miner said. “They know exactly what I need to do to get stronger, and I’m lucky to have them in my corner.”
Now, with the draft just three weeks away, Miner and his family anxiously await to see what interest he will garner from professional organizations. With his new abilities suddenly thrusting him into a new situation, Miner is doing his due diligence to educate himself on the process he may be hurtling towards.
“I have a lot of information I’m cramming in now that I wasn’t before since I wasn’t getting interest,” Miner said. “I’ve been talking to a lot of people about what’s next and learning from their stories to figure out what’s best for me. It’s definitely something I’ve been thinking a lot about, and we’ll see how it goes.”
While Miner is intrigued by the prospect of professional baseball, he knows he has an incredible opportunity already available to him at Wichita State. After the once Hartford commit reopened his recruitment last summer, he fielded offers from many programs before the Shockers were even on his radar. However, one pivotal interaction with pitching coach and former Major Leaguer Mike Pelfrey blew Miner away and was the ultimate factor in the lefty’s recruiting process.
“I had a bunch of coaches come to watch one of my games, but it was delayed four hours,” Miner said. “Many of the coaches left and didn’t watch me pitch, but Coach Pelfrey stayed and called me after he watched me pitch. It didn’t feel like he was trying to recruit me, but rather he was trying to help me with my future, and it made a really good impression.”
After having many Zoom calls with many programs, Miner and his family felt that the Shocker staff had the most genuine interest in their players and cared about the character of their guys, rather than just taking anyone who would help the on-field product. In the end, Miner chose Wichita State because of his comfortability with the staff and his faith in them to grow him as a player and person.
“They were genuine and made it clear they wanted me there,” Miner said. “They want to help me get better and help me build my career in the future.”
As the second weekend of July nears, Miner will likely have a hard decision to make on whether to forgo his eligibility and go pro or head to Kansas and play for the Shockers next spring. In terms of what will sway his decision, Miner said it’s all about best fit.
“It comes down to what organization I go to,” Miner said. “It has to make enough sense for me to give up my college career. I know what I’m looking for, and even if I don’t get drafted, I have an amazing opportunity with Wichita State and will be happy with where I’m at in my life no matter what.”
While Miner has worked hard enough to give himself incredible career opportunities, he remains determined to continue to get better throughout the summer. Playing in Perfect Game events to play against the best competition his class has to offer, Miner is resolute that he can continue to build on his already remarkable velocity and control.
“95 is the highest I’ve ever hit, but I think I still have more in the tank,” Miner said. “I’ll be pitching in more Perfect Game events this summer, and I know that if I keep working, I can do better.”