The United Shore Professional Baseball League has proven to be a successful vehicle for ball players hoping to still earn a shot at the majors. Since the league was formed in 2016, 18 players have signed with MLB clubs.
On Friday (12/08), the league announced their 19th signing. Utica Unicorns catcher Greg Jones has agreed to a contract with the Colorado Rockies.
— USPBL (@uspbl) December 8, 2017
Jones, 23, played in 26 games for the Utica Unicorns this past season in the USPBL, carrying a .253/.337/.379 slash line with a pair of homers, five doubles and 14 runs batted in, in 87 at-bats.
Jones joined the league after concluding his college playing days at Carson-Newman University, an NCAA Division II program based in Jefferson City, Tennessee. He's often been heralded for his defensive prowess as a catcher over what he brings to the dish, but Jones had a breakout offensive senior season, further pushing him to pursue his dreams of playing professional baseball.
“After the draft and college baseball, I wasn’t sure where I would end up continuing my career,” Jones said in a statement. “Fortunately, the USPBL gave me a chance to do that. The competition was very solid. The managers pushed and cared for us as players and gave us the tools to be successful. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the USPBL.”
“Greg Jones has set the bar for what the USPBL strives to develop and what MLB is looking for in a catcher. He’s a natural defensive catcher with an above average arm, quick release, and always puts the ball over the bag. With a big frame and athleticism, he has showed plenty of power and potential with the bat. He’s a great person, teammate and was a pleasure to have in the USPBL,” said Justin Orenduff, the USPBL’s Director of Baseball Operations.
Jones becomes the seventh player for the Utica Unicorns in the last two seasons to join a major league organization. The Colorado Rockies are the 13th different big league club to make additions to their system via the USPBL; their first signing from the metro Detroit-based independent league.