Jack Hurley has played a valuable role for Virginia Tech since his freshman year in 2021.
As a first-year player, he was a regular in Virginia Tech’s lineup, showing flashes of his potential. After his freshman year, Hurley knew he needed to make tweaks to continue his evolution as a baseball player.
The Virginia Tech outfielder altered his swing mechanics leading up to his sophomore season last year. The work paid off significantly, as Hurley posted monster numbers. He was Virginia Tech’s best hitter in a loaded lineup, which included Gavin Cross, the ninth overall pick in the 2022 MLB draft.
Hurley hit .375 with 23 doubles, 14 home runs, 55 RBIs and 10 stolen bases in 232 at-bats last year. Scouts noticed Hurley’s success and development. Entering his junior season, Hurley is one of the top players in college baseball and a potential first-round pick in the 2023 draft.
“I have always wanted to play professional baseball,” Hurley said. “It’s been a goal of mine. But my childhood goal was always to play Division I baseball. I’m living out that dream right now and taking it day by day. Hearing all that draft stuff is motivation. It motivates you to be at the top of your game.”
Hurley is a 6-foot, 190-pound five-tool player with the skills to play center field. Offensively, Hurley is a left-handed hitter with simple mechanics and a smooth swing. He hits for an exciting combination of average and power and uses all fields.
In previous years, Hurley has experienced some swing-and-miss in his game. He had 51 strikeouts compared to 32 walks last season. Hurley is a confident hitter and recognizes his strikeout numbers from last year. He wants to show a refined approach this spring, he said.
“I pride myself on hitting the ball as hard as I can,” Hurley said. “Anytime I hit the ball hard, it makes me feel good, and it’s a good result I like to look at. I do a good job of doing that consistently. My bat speed, my swing is probably my best tool right now.”
Defensively, Hurley has above-average speed and respectable arm strength. He covers plenty of ground and runs crisp routes in the outfield.
Hurley has the skill set to play all three outfield positions. In fall practice, Hurley has played mostly center field. He was Virginia Tech’s starting left fielder last season after playing center field as a freshman.
“In the future, I can keep getting better defensively,” Hurley said. “I feel like I am a good defender right now. But I think I can take the next step this year in the outfield.”
In his first two years at Virginia Tech, Hurley hit .322 with 33 doubles, 20 home runs, 80 RBIs and 14 stolen bases in 407 at-bats. He played an essential role in Virginia Tech’s remarkable season last year.
The Hokies achieved unprecedented success last season. They posted a 45-14 record, their most wins since 1985, and made their deepest postseason run in program history. They won their first-ever ACC regular-season title, qualified for the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2013 and advanced to an NCAA tournament super regional for the first time in program history.
The Hokies return a talented squad led by Hurley this season and hope to qualify for the NCAA tournament again.
“That was the most fun I have had playing baseball,” Hurley said. “Looking back on all the things we accomplished last year is a great feeling because Virginia Tech has always had that chip on its shoulder where maybe people don’t think we are as good as we are. I think last year was a good step in proving people wrong and showing that Virginia Tech is going to be competitive now and in the future.”
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Dan Zielinski III has covered the MLB draft for eight years. He has interviewed 433 of the top draft prospects in that period, including four No. 1 overall picks. Multiple publications, including Baseball America, USA Today, MLB.com, The Arizona Republic and The Dallas Morning News, have quoted his work, while he has appeared on radio stations as a “MLB draft expert.” Follow him on Twitter @DanZielinski3.