Rays sign first-round draft pick shortstop Greg Jones
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.—The Tampa Bay Rays have signed shortstop Greg Jones, the No. 22 overall selection from the 2019 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.
Jones, 21, hit .341/.491/.543 (76-for-223) with 12 doubles, nine triples, five home runs, 36 RBI and 42 stolen bases in 63 games (62 starts) as a draft-eligible sophomore for UNC Wilmington. The switch-hitter ranked fifth among Division I players and led the Colonial Athletic Association in stolen bases. He led the conference in on-base pct., triples, runs (70) and walks (55), ranked second in batting avg. and hits and fourth in slugging pct. and total bases (121). His nine triples and 42 stolen bases both tied single-season program records. He was named the conference’s Player of the Year and the Most Outstanding Player of the CAA Tournament, helping Wilmington clinch an appearance in the NCAA Regionals.
“Greg is an excellent baseball player with the physical ability to impact the game both offensively and defensively,” said Rays Director of Amateur Scouting Rob Metzler. “His bat speed, foot speed and athleticism should allow for continued development to the highest levels of the game. Our scouting staff has followed Greg closely since high school and witnessed tremendous progress as a player in two years with the UNC Wilmington program. We are thrilled to have him continue his journey in the Rays organization.”
Jones was rated among collegiate players by Baseball America as having the best speed in this year’s draft. The publication also ranked him as the third-best athlete among college players. The highest selection ever out of UNC Wilmington, Jones helped lead the Seahawks to the conference championship in both of his seasons there. He was previously selected by the Baltimore Orioles in the 17th round of the 2017 June Draft out of Cary (N.C.) High School, the same school that produced outfielder Paul Wilder, who was the first draft pick in franchise history.
Jones was one of four selections made by the Rays on the first day of the 2019 June Draft, along with right-handed pitcher JJ Goss (Cypress Ranch High School), right-handed pitcher Seth Johnson (Campbell University) and left-handed pitcher John Doxakis (Texas A&M University).