|Bradon O’Connor, the national NCAA Division II stolen base champion, has signed a professional contract with the Rocky Mountain Vibes of the Pioneer League. The Pioneer League is an independent baseball league in partnership with Major League Baseball (MLB). The team is located in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and plays home games at UCHealth Park.|
The Vibes has been a member of the Pioneer League since 2019. The league was converted from the MLB-affiliated Rookie Advanced League to an independent baseball league and was permitted status as an “MLB Partner League”. They were an affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers in 2019 and 2020.
In the final game of his collegiate career, O’Connor became the new NCAA Division II stolen base champion when he stole 97 bases in 105 attempts breaking the previous record of 96 steals set in 1987 by Crisco Johnson, who set the record in 49 games. O’Connor’s accomplishment came in 43 games.
O’Connor finished the 2022 season with a .454 batting average, scoring 54 runs, with 10 doubles, 3 triples, one home run, and fifty-one runs batted in, to go with his 97 stolen bases. He struck out just 10 times this season.
He earned all-region honors, and was named to the 2022 National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) All-South Region team, the ABCA/Rawlings South All-Region Team, SIAC Utility Player of the Year, and the Conference Commissioner’s Association All-South Region team. He was also named to the Black College Nines’ Small School Division All-Elite Team and was its Player of the Year.
O’Connor was second in the nation in Division II in batting average, hitting .454, and ranked sixth nationally with an on-base percentage of .551. He also ranked 22nd in the country in toughest to strike out and 23rd in hits per game.
In O’Connor’s first professional game this past Wednesday with the Vibes, he recorded a hit, scored one run, had two runs batted in, and drove in a run on a fielder’s choice in five plate appearances.
The Pioneer League is an MLB Partner League loaded with scouts. The MLB Draft will begin on Sunday, July 17, and end on Tuesday, July 19.
Benedict’s O’Connor Signs With Rocky Mountain Vibes
By: Phinesse Demps