Top Prospect #50: Travis Minix

Travis Minix didn't make his AAA debut in 2005, but it was almost as though he did. The right-hander who pitched in 14 games with the Red Barons was a different man from the one that pitched at AAA Durham in 2004.

There really wasn't too much that Travis Minix was sure about at this time last year. He was a minor league free agent looking for a home. Happily, he found one with the Phillies, but it would take until the end of March for him to latch on with the Phils' organization. From there, he went about his business after being assigned to AA Reading and by the end of the season, he was back at AAA, this time in Scranton Wilkes-Barre.

For Minix, his career pretty much started this past season. He was stuck in the Devil Rays' organization and although he had pitched well and moved along at a decent pace, he didn't seem to be on anybody's radar. Then, he left for the Phillies and things began to change. "It's like night and day." Minix told PBN during an interview during the Arizona Fall League last November. "Philadelphia has just been honest and up front with me from day one." They told me what they expected from me, what their plans were for me, just spelled it out." When they got me [farm director] Mike Arbuckle just talked to me and told me what to expect, and that's what I got."

Now, Minix feels that he's ready for a shot at the revamped Phillies bullpen and he should get at least a look this spring. Let's face it, the bullpen isn't set in stone and Minix should have a shot at getting a trip north with the big league club when camp breaks early in April. "I feel like I'm ready to step in if they ask me to, but that's the organization's decision, not mine." Worst case scenario is that he's back at AAA and waiting for a call to join the team somewhere down the road. The bottom line is that with a strong 2005 season, Minix has put himself in the mix for the big leagues.

Travis Minix' career stats

'99 Hudson Valley (A) 2 2 1.44 7 27 0 56.1 36 11 9 2 12 68
'00 Charleston (A) 4 2 3.33 2 48 1 78.1 85 36 29 5 27 73
'02 Orlando (AA) 5 7 3.04 0 38 1 68.0 70 31 23 3 29 49
'03 Orlando (AA) 5 3 3.86 0 44 6 79.1 86 40 34 7 14 70
'04 Montgomery (AA) 0 0 1.76 1 12 0 15.1 12 3 3 1 3 18
'04 Durham (AAA) 3 0 4.75 1 22 0 36.0 39 27 19 6 10 28
'05 Reading (AA) 1 1 1.84 7 39 0 58.2 44 13 12 3 15 55
'05 Scranton (AAA) 1 0 1.53 1 14 0 17.2 9 3 3 2 3 13
Career 21 15 2.90 19 244 8 409.2 381 164 132 29 113 374

Acquired: Signed by the Phillies as a minor league free agent in March of 2005. Originally drafted by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in the 23rd round of the 1999 Draft and pitched in the Rays' organization from 1999 through 2004.

Projection: Minix has good enough stuff to develop into a back of the bullpen type of pitcher. He doesn't have a lot of experience working as a closer, but could possibly step into the role if given the chance. "Am I that prototypical closer who comes in and blows gas by people? No, that's not me, but I have the confidence to throw strikes and get guys out, and we're seeing guys who are the best who don't throw that hard. If you look at Chad Cordero in Washington, he throws like 91, and he was maybe the best closer in the Majors this year."

ETA: Bring it on! Minix is ready now according to most of the baseball people that we talked to, but they all agreed that a little more time at AAA couldn't hurt him. For now, Minix would seem to be a bit of a long shot to make the club out of spring training, but he's certainly not out of the picture. He'll provide a decent arm for insurance if he's back at Scranton and figures to be one of the September call-ups if he's not already in the majors by then.

Comparison: Minix could be a Tim Worrell type pitcher (when Worrell was in his better seasons). He's not going to blow anybody away with speed and power, but he mixes his pitches well and keeps the ball down in the zone. He picks up a decent amount of strikeouts, although he's not afraid to let hitters put the ball in play, because they don't often get good swings off of him. Opponents hit just .206 against Minix at Reading and .153 at Scranton.

For more on how the Top 50 Prospects list was assembled, check out Ranking The Prospects: How We Do It


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