DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Dragons outfielder Jacob Hurtubise has built his game on speed. Baseball America named him the fastest player in the entire Reds organization before he’d even played a game. But he’s also a precision player whose military training prepared him for a career in professional baseball and beyond.
When Jacob Hurtubise was being recruited out of high school in the Indianapolis area, he had no idea West Point was a service academy. “I had to google what West Point even was.”
But he quickly realized it was the right fit. “Knowing I have five years of service to serve our great country, that was a decision I didn’t take lightly.”
A cadet’s day begins before 7 and is carefully regimented. It includes structured classes, meals, drill and instruction, and extracurriculars. And that’s before you add in a Division I athlete’s training, practice, and game schedule.
Jim Foster is the head coach of the West Point baseball team. He says, “When they walk out of here it’s very impressive and they do turn into great leaders who have tremendous values and character.”
Foster coached Hurtubise at West Point but arrived after Hurtubise had already been recruited. Foster says, “When I walked out on the field for our first workout and saw Jacob, I said ‘whoa what do we have here?’ He just stood out with his speed, he had electricity in his body. He was exciting.”
Foster says he built that team around Hurtubise and the excitement grew. Hurtubise developed into an all-American at West Point and was named the conference defensive player of the year in centerfield. But no matter the success, Hurtubise prepared for the active-duty service that awaits West Point graduates.
But a 2019 policy change allowed service academy athletes to play professionally if given the chance.
Hurtubise says, “That just opened the door and made my decision so much easier. To be able to one: sign, and to be able to just come and play immediately after graduation.” So for now, his military obligations are on hold.
A lot of teams were in contact leading up to the draft, but the pandemic slashed the draft from 40 rounds to just five. Hurtubise was not drafted. Two days after graduation he drove home to Indianapolis through the night. He arrived at 7 a.m., the day free agency started, and took a nap. He says, “9 a.m. I had the Cincinnati Reds, I had the Chicago Cubs calling me, Detroit Tigers.” The Reds were the best fit.
As he begins his first professional season, he’s grateful for the resilience and consistency he learned at West Point.
Hurtubise says, “I can’t thank enough the coaching staffs there that I played under. Just the development and time they put into me as a player. It made for a great four years. A very challenging four years, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”
His former coach Foster says, “We’re all proud of him. He’s an even better person. He’s a tremendous baseball player and I’m glad he’s doing well, but he’s an incredible person from an unbelievable family.”
One of the first things Jacob Hurtubise did after signing with the Reds was to look at some of the organization’s stolen base records. So far he says no one in the organization has challenged him to a race.