The Cincinnati Reds have signed left-handed pitcher Jonah Hurney. The 23-year-old spent three years at Virginia Tech from 2021 to 2023. He went undrafted in his time there, and after a down senior season he pitched for the Trenton Thunder in the MLB Draft League.

In 2021 and 2022 he pitched exclusively out of the bullpen, throwing 54.2 innings in 33 outings and posting an ERA of 2.47. He allowed 42 hits, walked 16, and he struck out 66 batters in that time. During the 2023 season the lefty made six starts and 15 relief appearances, but his starts were short as he only completed the third inning once. The lefty battled consistency during the year, posting a 7.76 ERA in 31.1 innings while watching his walk rate skyrocket as he handed out 19 free passes, and his strikeout rate decline as he fanned just 30 of the 153 batters he faced.

When his college season was over he joined the Trenton Thunder to try and get things turned around before the draft. Used as a starter, he pitched in eight games with seven of them being starts and he did find far more success than he had while at Virginia Tech in 2023. He would throw 38.1 innings – more than he threw in college this past year – and post a 3.76 ERA. He did allow plenty of hits, with 44 of them, but none of them were home runs. His walk rate improved as he handed out just 10 free passes. The strikeout rate, though, was down – perhaps as a result – as he struck out just 33 of the 171 hitters he saw in the league.

One park in the league had Trackman installed and was public facing. Jonah Hurney did not pitch in that ballpark. But he did pitch against Boston College in the ACC tournament and that game did have public facing data. It was just one game – a start – but the lefty threw a 2-seamer that averaged 89 MPH (and topped out at 91 on this day), a change up and a slider with the secondary offering both working in the low 80’s.

You can see his college and draft league stats here.

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Doug Gray is the owner and operator of this website and has been running it since 2006 in one variation or another. You can follow him on twitter @dougdirt24, or follow the site on Facebook. and Youtube.

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21 Responses

  1. Tom

    Interesting story. Love the tenacity. Perhaps there is something he’s trying to implement and it takes some time. Best of luck to him.

  2. Optimist

    Teammate of Cade Hunter at Va. Tech. Expect that had some role in this, i.e. catcher scouting.

    • Old Big Ed

      That’s pretty good surmising, there, Optimist.

      Hurney is 5’8 and Hawaiian; Va Tech offered him out of a JC in Oregon. More power to him; at least he gets his shot.

  3. MK

    Really thought the Reds had an organizational deficiency of lefthanded pitching in 2023. They have really worked to address that this off season and Heany is the latest addition. Gilbert, Suter, Bruihl, Merite, plus resigning of Sanmartin have all been signed. Great moves in my mind.

    • MBS

      The more the better. I am looking forward to seeing what Fisher does in AAA this year.

      • DaveCT

        Autocorrect îs not my friend …

        Naughton

        I should just give it up for the day. My earlier reply here also referenced Packy and in in moderation time out. Now, I have this …

      • MK

        Talked to Packy a few times and he might have been a little naughty but not any worse than most of the others. I remember the night the zipper on his pants broke. The young ladies behind us were hooting and hollering. Next inning he came out and still had the pants on, in addition to a couple innings more. I asked him a few days later why he didn’t change them. Being the person we would expect he said I wasn’t going to change until I gave up a run.

        I was a little disappointed the Reds didn’t make a better effort to resign Jayvien Sandridge. I thought he was the Dragons most improved pitcher last year (from season’s beginning to end) , then they sent him to the AFL. Then he became a Free Agent and signed a minor leage contract with San Diego.

      • DaveCT

        The minor leagues at their best, the psychology of broken zippers.

        The Sandridge story is an absolute puzzle.

  4. Mauired

    Jac Caglionone would be fantastic. It’s like getting Matt Olson and Aroldis Chapman in one player (potentially). Kurtz works too. Please not on Weatherholt. Not only do the Reds already have a million middle infield prospects with nowhere to play, but last time the Reds picked the “can’t miss” pure hitter second in the draft was Senzel. Don’t need to see the sequel to that.

    • Old Big Ed

      The draft class in Senzel’s year was horrid. It was kind of like being the fastest guy in an over-55 sumo class at the Y.

      The good news is that they have 4+ months to make that decision.

      • Mauired

        1st round was so bad but Reds did get lucky by stealing Benson later. Second round had some gems.

      • Colorado Red

        They also sign undrafted TJ.
        So may not they that bad of a class after all.

      • Old Big Ed

        Yeah, but you can’t use hindsight to assess a first round, because no team was going to use the #2 pick to take the three hitters who turned out to be real good MLB players (Pete Alonso, Bo Bichette and Bryan Reynolds, who were all taken from #59 to #66). Will Smith of the Dodgers was a sandwich pick.

        Corbin Burnes and Shane Bieber (both 4th round) and Zac Gallen (3rd by the Tradin’ Cardinals) were among some pretty decent pitchers in that draft. The draft overall produced a few guys, but the top round was a muddle. 2015, for example, had 9 1st-rounders who have put up 10+ bWAR, led by top-two pics Alex Bregman (35.4) and Dansby Swanson (19.5).

        2023 was the mother of all drafts, at least as it seems now.

    • Tom

      One lesson might have been that Senzel was a 15-20 HR power guy even at the time of the draft. For a top 10 pick at 3b, that was questionable. Turns out that lack of power stayed true. If Weatherholt has better exit velo, that would be a good sign. 2016 was a bad draft and there might not have been a good pick at #2. Should have traded Senzel for Realmuto.

    • 2020ball

      What happens in previous drafts matters so little to me, no way will you find me looking through a list of busts to make my decision on a top 3 draft choice. Id pick a success story, id hope everyone would.