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Jayson Nix

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Jayson Truitt Edward Nix

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The brother of Laynce Nix, second baseman Jayson Nix was selected by the Colorado Rockies in the 1st round of the 2001 amateur draft and made his major league debut 7 years later.

Nix hit .451 with 61 runs and a .951 slugging percentage as a senior in high school. He joined J.J. Hardy, Casey Kotchman and David Wright as the infielders chosen by Baseball America as first-team high-school All-Americans. The Rockies made him their first pick, 44th overall, in the 2001 amateur draft; the choice was compensation for not signing Matt Harrington a year prior. Nix was signed by scout Dar Cox for a $925,000 bonus.

Jayson made his pro debut for the Casper Rockies and hit .294/.385/.471 in 42 games. Nix was moved from shortstop to second base in 2002 and batted .246/.340/.400 with 29 doubles, 14 home runs, 73 runs and 79 RBI for the Asheville Tourists. He made 36 errors and led South Atlantic League second basemen in errors, assists (351) and double plays (77).

Nix emerged as a top prospect with the 2003 Visalia Oaks. His team's youngest position player, he batted .281/.351/.475 with 107 runs, 46 doubles, 21 homers, 86 RBI and 24 steals (in 32 tries). He led Rockies farmhands in doubles and total bases (267). He led California League second basemen in assists (460), double plays (120) and fielding percentage (.972), showing much better defense in his second season at the position. He led the Cal League in games (137) and runs and tied Josh Barfield for the most doubles. Nix was second in the league in hits (trailing Barfield) and extra-base hits (trailing Barfield, 68-67). He tied for 4th in the circuit in home runs. Baseball America named him the best defensive second baseman in the loop but he failed to make the league All-Star team as Barfield was chosen instead. He was second in the affiliated minors in runs (trailing Jeff Salazar by 3), tied Barfield for the most doubles and was third in extra-base hits, between Jayson Drobiak and Barfield. Baseball America rated him the league's #10 prospect, right ahead of Jeff Francis and Nick Swisher. He hit .226 for the Mesa Solar Sox in the Arizona Fall League. Baseball America ranked him as Colorado's 5th-best prospect.

In 2004, Nix hit the skids, barely nicking the ball at the plate. He only batted .213/.292/.346 for the Tulsa Drillers; he did hit 14 home runs and stole 14 bases in 17 tries. He paced Texas League second basemen in putouts (253), assists (392), errors (17) and double plays (85). He hit .191 in the AFL, generally known as a hitter's circuit. The next season, Jayson returned to Tulsa and his OPS went up 6 points, with a batting line of .236/.289/.355. He led TL second basemen in putouts (274) and assists (433).

Nix made it to AAA in 2006 and hit .251/.317/.313 for the Colorado Springs Sky Sox with only 2 home runs in 358 AB in the thin air. He led Pacific Coast League 2B with 225 putouts, 369 assists and 88 twin killings. In 2007, Nix batted .292/.342/.451 for the Sky Sox, his best season in the past four. He stole 24 bases in 32 tries, delivered 33 doubles and scored 80 times. His home run output picked up, with 11. He led PCL second basemen in fielding percentage (.986), assists (404) and double plays (124).

He starred for Team USA in the 2007 Baseball World Cup, hitting .387/.444/.742 with 9 runs in 9 games. He was named World Cup MVP, the first American since Tino Martinez in 1988 to claim the honor. Nix scored two of the team's three runs in their quarterfinal win over the South Korean national team. He drove in two of their six runs in their Gold Medal game win over the Cuban national team. It was the first time ever that the US had beaten Cuba in the Gold Medal game of a Baseball World Cup. He won the Richard W. "Dick" Case Award as USA Baseball's Athlete of the Year.

Nix began the 2008 season in the majors, replacing Kazuo Matsui as the Rockies second baseman. He hit 8th in his big league debut and flew out against Kyle Lohse in his first MLB at-bat. In the 8th, he drew a bases-loaded walk from Randy Flores to force in Todd Helton with the winning run in a 2-1 victory. Nix finished the day 0 for 2 with 2 walks. He got off to a sluggish start, going 5 for 45 with 12 strikeouts and earning a trip back to the minors. After hitting .306/.378/.596 in 59 games at Colorado Springs, with 15 homers and 57 runs, Nix returned to the majors. He was 2 for 11 this time but again was shipped back to the farm - just in time to make the final cut for Team USA's roster for the 2008 Olympics. Nix hit .214/.267/.500 in Beijing but missed time due to injury. Against the Cuban national team, he tied the game at 3 in the bottom of the 8th with a solo homer off of legendary Pedro Luis Lazo. When Nix faced Lazo with a 5-3 deficit, two on and none out. Nix tried to bunt but deflected the ball into his face, causing him to leave the game. He did not return until the USA's final game, when they won Bronze; Brian Barden filled in for him while he was hurt.

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