By STEVE KRAH
The left-handed reliever made his debut with the Double-A Tennessee Smokies Tuesday, June 5, pitching retiring three of four batters in the ninth inning of a 10-2 win at Jackson.
Minch is a 2012 Highland (Ind.) High School graduate who pitched for two seasons at Purdue University before being selected in the 35th round of the 2014 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft by the Cubs.
He pitched in 36 games with the 2015 South Bend Cubs.
Injuries in 2016 (Grade 2 lat strain) and 2017 (shoulder and ankle issues) slowed his promotion.
With those ailments behind him, he began the 2018 season at Myrtle Beach by going 3-1 in 18 appearances (all in relief) with eight games finished and one save. His earned run average was 3.65 with 28 strikeouts and 13 walks in 24 2/3 innings.
“I’m happy I’m healthy again and pitching well,” said Minch before leaving Myrtle Beach, where the manager is Buddy Bailey and Anderson Tavarez the pitching coach. “I’ll keep doing my thing and everything else will take care of itself.”
The 24-year-old southpaw has made 120 professional mound appearances (all out of the bullpen).
“It’s a completely different mindset,” said Minch of relieving vs. starting. “As a starter, you have your days where you’ll do long toss, side work and touch-and-feel.
“As a reliever, you have to listen to your body and save your bullets for the games. I’ve been a late-inning guy. You have to produce in those big moments.
“It’s about having a routine and sticking with it. We play 140 games in 152 days. It’s a grind. You have to get your body ready to go out and compete.”
Minch said he gets “natural lefty run” from his three-quarter overhand arm slot and uses a two-seam fastball, slider (which breaks pretty late) and a “circle” change-up.
His fastball sits at 92 to 94 mph, topping out at 95. His breaking pitch is about 10 mph slower.
“It looks like a fastball in my hand and just dives down,” said Minch, who is now working with manager Mark Johnson and pitching Terry Clark at Tennessee.
Minch verbally committed to Purdue as a high school sophomore. As a Boilermaker, 28 of his 30 games came as a starter.
“I started the second game of the year my freshmen,” said Minch. “They threw me right into the fire.”
Purdue pitching coach Tristan McIntyre helped refine the fire-balling left-hander.
“In high school, I threw hard,” said Minch. “(McIntyre) told me to not try to overthrow and let my mechanics work.”
He was taught “pitchability” and learned how to keep batters guessing by pitching backward.
The lefty also saw what he could do against top-flight hitters in the Cape Cod League, where he appeared in 10 games with the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox in the summer 2013 and five contests with the Hyannis Harbor Hawks in 2014.
Minch is glad he went to college instead of straight into pro ball.
“I wasn’t ready,” said Minch. “I needed to go to school and grow up a little bit.”
At Highland High, Minch played for Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Famer Dan Miller.
“He set the table for me coming up. He humbled me. I had all these. scouts coming to the games. He kept me humble and even keel and taught me to bring it 100 percent to the field every day.”
Minch was a four-year varsity letterwinner for Miller’s Trojans, leading the team in strikeouts as a sophomore, junior and senior and also pacing Highland in doubles as a junior and batting average as a senior. He was chosen for the White Sox Area Code team as a junior and the IHSBCA North/South All-Star Series as a senior.
He was a three-year all-conference performer and all-area honoree in basketball and an honor roll student.
Minch was married Dec. 30, 2017. Jordan and Emily, who met through mutual friends, recently bought at house in Indianapolis.
His parents — Jack and Dawn Minch — as well as older brother Josh and twin sister Sarah all reside in Highland.
Jordan Minch delivers a pitch for the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. He is a Highland (Ind.) High School graduate who pitched at Purdue University before being drafted by the Chicago Cubs (Myrtle Beach Pelicans Photo)
Jordan Minch takes the mound for the High Class-A Myrtle Beach Pelicans before being promoted to the High Class-A Tennessee Smokies. All 120 of his professional appearances have been in the bullpen. (Myrtle Beach Pelicans Photo)
Because of injuries, Jordan Minch pitched for Myrtle Beach in 2016, 2017 and the beginning of 2018. The left-hander was just promoted to Double-A Tennessee. (Myrtle Beach Pelicans Photo)