Major League Baseball’s altered regular season is set to begin Thursday. In the midst of a shortened spring training, the Cincinnati Reds decided they needed to add more depth in the outfield.
So, on Friday, the Reds added West Point graduate Jacob Hurtubise, signing him to a minor league contract for the $20,000 maximum signing bonus.
Hurtubise, who is the all-time career leader in stolen bases (105) and walks (142) for Army and the Patriot League, is the first Service Academy graduate to sign a professional baseball contract since November. That’s when Secretary of Defense Mark Esper endorsed a policy making it possible for Service Academy graduates to delay their commissioning and service obligations to pursue a career in pro sports.
Navy pitcher Noah Song, who was drafted by the Boston Red Sox, was ordered to report to flight school in Pensacola, Florida and will not play professional baseball until at least next May, according to the Boston Globe.
“We are exceptionally proud of Jacob,” Mike Buddie, Army’s Director of Athletics, said in a statement. “After spending 47 months training to serve our country, I am thrilled for Jacob to get this incredible opportunity and am convinced this will only make him a better officer when that time comes… I know the Reds organization will appreciate his incredible work ethic and talent.”
A native of Zionsville, Indiana, Hurtubise is one of the best baseball talents to ever come through West Point. He was drafted by the Seattle Mariners in 2019, but returned to Army for his senior season, which was cut short due to the coronavirus.
Hurtubise, 22, was a two-time All-Patriot League First Team selection and won the conference’s Defensive Player of the Year award in 2019. He finished his Black Knights career with a .301 batting average, a .346 slugging percentage, 58 RBIs, 172 hits and 163 runs scored. In 176 games played, he had just five errors.
“We are very proud and excited for Jacob to get this opportunity with the Cincinnati Reds,” Army baseball head coach Jim Foster said in a statement. “He has been a huge part of our baseball program and will be remembered as one of the greats in program history. He has been the definition of what we want in a player and, more importantly, a person and a leader.”
He’s not the only Cadet to enter professional baseball recently, as Jon Rosoff spent the 2019 season with the Detroit Tigers’ Advanced A and Double A affiliates. Chris Rowley pitched in eight games for the Toronto Blue Jays in 2017 and 2018 and is the only Army player to ever appear in the major leagues, according to ESPN.
Given the chance, Hurtubise could join him.
Jacob Hurtubise thought he was joining a #UnitedAsOne call with @michellachester.— NCAA Baseball (@NCAACWS) May 1, 2020
When he joined, he didn't expect to see @Braves Dansby Swanson on the other side of the call. Thanks for the surprise @LieutenantDans7! #NCAABaseball | @ArmyWP_Baseball pic.twitter.com/KwpkhSaZ5d