Haley signs with Rays, returns to Medlar Sunday

June 15, 2016

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Penn State baseball junior third baseman Jim Haley has elected to forgo his final year of NCAA eligibility, as he signed with the Tampa Bay Rays Tuesday. He will be assigned to the organization’s Class-A Short Season affiliate, the Hudson Valley Renegades, which will visit Medlar Field at Lubrano Park Sunday-Tuesday when they take on the State College Spikes.

“I feel like signing with the Rays was the best opportunity for me,” said Haley. “It has been a dream of mine since I started playing baseball to get drafted by a big league team. It is an absolute honor and privilege and something that I do not take for granted.”

The Rays selected Haley in the 19th round of the 2016 MLB Draft with the 570th overall pick. The Renegades play in Wappingers Falls, New York, approximately 80 miles north of New York City.

“I just want to thank Penn State and everything it has given to me,” said Haley. “I had an incredible three years there and made memories and friends to last a lifetime. I'd like to thank all of the people that I had the privilege of being around every day, especially the staff at [Medlar Field] and the Morgan Academic Center. I'd like to thank my coaches for pushing me to become the best player and person that I could be. I'd like to thank all of the teammates that I was blessed to be around during my career. They will never know the impact that they made on me, helping me to grow as a player and more importantly, as a person.

“Penn State will always have a special place in my heart.”

Haley and the Renegades will open their season at home Friday against Aberdeen before traveling to State College for a three-game series against the Spikes starting Sunday at 6:05 p.m., while games Monday and Tuesday are slated for 7:05 p.m. Single-game tickets are currently on sale through the Spikes Box Office and online at StateCollegeSpikes.com. Fans can visit the box office in person or call 814-272-1711.

It will be the only series between the Spikes and Renegades this season. Haley is looking to become the fifth Nittany Lion to play at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park as a professional, as both Penn State baseball and the Spikes both call the 5,406-seat facility home. The most recent was Ben Heath in 2010 with the Tri-City Valley Cats of the Houston Astros organization. Scott Gummo was the first when he returned, also with the Hudson Valley Renegades, in 2006. The following season, Gary Amato and Matt Cavagnaro became the first former Penn State players to suit up for the hometown State College Spikes.

A three-year starter with 143 starts in 146 appearances, Haley compiled a .297 career average at Penn State with 28 doubles, seven triples, two home runs, 64 RBIs, 97 runs and 25 stolen bases. He is coming off his best offensive season, setting career highs with a .315 batting average, 45 runs, 69 hits, 12 doubles, 27 RBIs and 18 walks. Haley started and played in all 55 games, drawing the majority of his starts at third base after transitioning from shortstop. As a sophomore in 2015, Haley led Penn State in Big Ten games in batting (.333), on-base percentage (.396), runs (15), triples (3), doubles (9). He started 42 of 44 games as a freshman, batting .265.

Haley was one of two Nittany Lions selected in the 2016 MLB Draft, as recent graduate Jack Anderson was selected in the 23rd round by the Seattle Mariners. Anderson will also be starting at the Class-A Short Season level, as he will join the Everett Aquasox of the Northwest League.

“We are very proud of them and excited they have the opportunity to do something they have always dreamed of,” said Penn State head coach Rob Cooper. “Penn State will always be home to them.”

Last Updated June 16, 2016