SANTA CLARITA, Calif. – Jon Popadics, one of the finest shortstops in the history of The Master’s College baseball program, has signed with the Tampa Bay Rays as an undrafted free agent.
“While I was bummed that I didn’t get a call during the draft, I was so excited and thankful that I received this opportunity from the Rays,” commented Popadics. “I’m grateful to the Lord for giving me this opportunity and I’m ready to work my tail off and see where He takes me. This opportunity is from His hand and I’m excited for the road ahead.”
Earlier in the week, Popadics was assigned to the Princeton Rays, Tampa’s Advanced Rookie Level club based in Princeton, West Virginia. Notably, the Princeton Rays are managed by Danny Sheaffer, a former MLB player and father of current Mustang catcher David Sheaffer, and TMC baseball alumni, Daniel Sheaffer (2013).
Over his four-year career as a Mustang (2012-15), the smooth-fielding Popadics became the program’s career leader in assists (615) and his 230 at-bats in 2013 are still the single-season record. In 2013, Popadics had a breakout season, posting 81 hits and 187 assists, both of those the second-highest, single-season marks in school history. More recently, in 2015, Popadics became one of seven Mustangs in program history to notch five hits in a single game.
Also, Popadics’ time at TMC was highlighted by earning both GSAC and NAIA Scholar-Athlete honors in 2015 and 2014, being named the GSAC’s Player of the Week in 2015, bagging All-GSAC kudos in 2014 and 2013, and earning GSAC Gold Glove honors in 2014.
“Jon is the greatest shortstop to ever play at The Master’s College and, arguably, the best to come out of the Golden State Athletic Conference,” commented TMC head coach Monte Brooks. “A multitalented player who could hit, run, catch and throw. For four years we witnessed amazing defensive performances, stellar base running, and clutch hitting. An incredible player! In addition, his love for the Lord, his strong relationships with his teammates, and his zeal to play the game brought joy to my heart. It was a privilege to coach him. We are excited that the Tampa Bay Rays’ organization has given this wonderful young man an opportunity to play professional baseball.”
Notably, Popadics’ signing now lifts TMC’s number of baseball players who have received professional contracts over the years to 38.
Looking ahead, Popadics will make his professional debut with the Princeton Rays on Tuesday, June 23, when they take on the Burlington Royals at 7:00 p.m. (ET) at Hunnicut Field.
To learn more about the Princeton Rays, click here.