Big-league opportunity: Former Zionsville Community High School baseball player makes Reds’ 40-man roster

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Jacob Hurtubise saw performing well in 2023 as a must.

“The year prior I got plagued with injury,” he said. “I had COVID at some point. I was just not seeing the field as often as I would like. This was kind of a make it or break it year for me.”

Looks like he made it, as the 2016 Zionsville Community High School graduate was promoted to the Cincinnati Reds’ 40-man roster following his best season in the minors. After batting .306 in 83 games for Chattanooga in Double-A, the outfielder hit .390 in 36 games for Louisville in Triple-A.

“I think it was the mindset of survival,” he said of his success. “It was the first time I realized this could be it for you. Finish strong and the cards play how they’re played. I ended up having the year I did. I’m very thankful and very fortunate to be in the situation that I’m in.”

Hurtubise hit .283 with Dayton (Ohio) in Single-A in 2021. Then his average dipped to .250 in 63 games for Chattanooga in 2022.

Hurtubise attended Driveline, which is a swing design program in Seattle.

“They really helped me to build a mindset that helped me at the plate,” he said. “I think people will tell you 10 to 15 percent (is) physical and the rest of it is mental. I was able to tap into a lot of the mental focus that I hadn’t been using before. I was able to transform that into something that really helps me out on the baseball field.”

Hurtubise said his swing didn’t change too much.

“But it changed some things, and small things add up to big things,” he said. “The small things made all the difference for me.”

Hurtubise will report Feb. 11 to the Reds spring training facility in Goodyear, Ariz.

“Being named to the 40-man roster is a huge step in the career of a baseball player, which gives a great opportunity to make the big-league team,” he said. “I’ve been focused on being consistent, trying to stay in shape. It’s difficult doing that in the cold Indiana and Illinois weather. I’m doing everything I can to prepare heading into my first big league spring training. I think the big thing will be learning from the coaches and players.”

Hurtubise got married Dec. 2, 2023, in Urbana, Ill. He met his wife, Grace, a former Miss Illinois, while she was the host of a TV lifestyle show in Dayton.

Although Hurtubise is naturally right-handed, he bats left-handed and throws right-handed.

A graduate of U.S. Military Academy in West Point N.Y., in 2020, Hurtubise batted .375 as a junior in 2019. Army’s season was limited to five games in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hurtubise was drafted in the 39th round by Seattle in the 2019 MLB Draft. Although college players are eligible to leave for professional ranks after their junior season, that isn’t possible for Army players.

“All the scouts knew I wouldn’t be able to sign a contract, but Seattle decided to honor my commitment to serve and honor the season I had,” said Hurtubise, who then signed a free agent contract with the Reds.

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Jacob Hurtubise helped lead Zionsville Community High School to the Class 4A state runner-up finish. (Photos courtesy of Jacob Hurtubise)

ZCHS baseball coach Jered Moore said it’s special to see Hurtubise have success at West Point and in the minors.

“He is such a fantastic kid and role model, and I am super proud of him,” Moore said. “While playing for Zionsville, he was a great leader and teammate. He had such a positive attitude and worked very hard. On the field, he was so successful for us because he had so many strengths. He was a tremendous outfielder with a very strong arm. He was a weapon on the base paths because of his speed and instincts. At the plate, he could bunt and hit to all fields, but he didn’t hit for power. Although I felt he could be very successful as a college player, I didn’t anticipate him playing professionally because of his lack of power. I’m so excited for him that he proved me wrong. In my 25 years of coaching, he is definitely one of my favorites.”

Hurtubise had only one homer in his first two seasons in the minors and seven last season.

As a senior, Hurtubise helped lead the Eagles to the IHSAA Class 4A state championship game before falling to Roncalli. Hurtubise was named the 4A Mental Attitude Award winner.

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Jacob Hurtubise graduated from West Point in 2020.

Service on hold

Jacob Hurtubise’s Army service time is delayed to allow him to pursue a professional baseball career.

“I signed a policy in 2019 allowing me to come and play professional baseball,” he said. “The only thing I have to provide every year is proof of a current contract and provide positive media exposure to the military.”

When his career is over, he is required to do five years of active military service.

“I’m not sure what that active-duty service is going to look like, but I will be excited to serve in whatever capacity,” he said.


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