Greg Jones has thrived in the leadoff spot for Class A Short Season Hudson Valley. On Saturday night, he had a career night at the dish.
The ninth-ranked Rays prospect went 5-for-5 with three RBIs and three runs scored as the Renegades rolled past Aberdeen, 9-1, at Dutchess Stadium. It was his first career five-hit game.
Video: Hudson Valley's Jones gets fifth hit
The switch-hitting shortstop didn't waste any time, singling to right field on the first pitch he saw from Ryan Conroy. He came home on a groundout by Hill Alexander to put Hudson Valley ahead for good.
In the second, Jones again jumped on the right-hander's first pitch, sending it to left for a single that plated Ben Troike and extended the lead to 3-0. He grounded an 0-1 offering from Conroy up the middle in the fourth for his third hit of the night, tying his previous career high.
Gameday box score
The 22nd overall pick in this year's Draft continued his big night from the left side. Leading off the seventh, he singled to left off righty Kyle Martin and scored on Luis Trevino's grounder. Jones went the other way in the ninth, doubling past the outstretched glove of left fielder Jaylen Ferguson on a 3-0 offering from Martin, to score Troike and K.V. Edwards.
"Oh, yeah, I had the green light," Jones said. "The pitch was in the zone and I went and got it."
Despite being 15-for-44 (.366) over his last 10 games with 10 runs scored, seven walks, six RBIs and four steals, Jones said he's been in a bit of a slump.
"I haven't been swinging the bat well as of late," he said. "I've been working on a couple things. I feel like haven't gotten everything down [in the zone], so I've moved my front foot down. But I saw the ball well tonight."
With two of his five hits leading off an inning, Jones said he feels at home in that spot.
"I did it a lot in college [at North Carolina Wilmington] and all throughout high school," the 22nd overall pick in the 2019 Draft said. "I'm pretty comfortable in the lead off spot."
In 59 at-bats leading off an inning, Jones has 18 knocks -- including seven for extra bases -- and five walks.
The perfect night raised his average 19 points to .332, which ranks fifth in the New York-Penn League. The 21-year-old is third with a .408 on-base percentage, fifth with a .857 OPS and seventh with a .449 slugging percentage, 18 stolen bases and 38 runs scored.
2019 MiLB include
"I'd say it feels pretty good, but I try to not look at stats too much because they don't define the player," Jones said. "I don't really set goals for myself. Baseball is fun when you get on base, get the win, everyone gets a hit and you score a bunch of runs."
The first-year pro likened the atmosphere and competition in the New York-Penn League to the Cape Cod League, a summer circuit for college players.
"You're playing every day against some of the best baseball players around," he said. "That's a lot what the Cape was like. I've definitely played against some of the guys in this league before."
Batting one spot behind Jones, Nick Sogard was 3-for-4 with a walk and two runs scored. Renegades starter Rodolfo Sanchez allowed one run on two hits and two walks while striking out six over six innings.