In the weeks leading
up to the draft, Perfect Game will be providing a detailed overview
of each state in the U.S., including the District of Columbia, as
well as Canada and Puerto Rico. These overviews will list the
state's strengths, weaknesses and the players with the best tools, as
well as providing mini-scouting reports on all Group 1 and 2 players.
Iowa State-by-State List
Lacks Headliner in 2011; Iowa Western Seeks Repeat of JC Title
Iowa’s draft status
each year is almost always dictated by its ability to produce a top
high-school prospect. Over the last dozen years, the state has
produced six draft picks in the top four rounds, and each is from the
In 2010, Jefferson High
third baseman Kellen Sweeney was a second-round pick of the Toronto
Blue Jays, just like his brother Ryan was a second-rounder of the
Chicago White Sox seven years earlier at a rival Cedar Rapids high
school. In addition to the elder Sweeney, the list of early-round
Iowa draft prospects who have progressed to the big leagues includes
the likes of current big leaguers Jeremy Hellickson, a Tampa Bay Rays
fourth-rounder in 2005, and Joel Hanrahan, a second-round pick of the
Los Angeles Dodgers in 2000.
The state hasn’t had a
college or junior-college player picked in the top 10 rounds since
2001, when righthander Alan Bomer was selected in the ninth round by
the Chicago Cubs out of the now-disbanded Iowa State program. Of
course, the state is down to only one NCAA Division I program (Iowa)
after Iowa State and Northern Iowa both dropped baseball over the
last decade for financial reasons.
Even with the significant
success that Iowa Western and Des Moines Area have enjoyed in recent
years at the junior-college level, neither of those schools has been
in the draft spotlight, either.
Though Iowa high schools
don’t play a conventional spring schedule, it has already been
established that there isn’t a single player of Kellen Sweeney’s
caliber in Iowa in 2011, so Iowa’s overall impact in the early
rounds this year will be minimal. But there is significant depth in
the high-school crop, and at least 15 Iowa players have signed
Division I scholarships. They will all have a chance to enhance their
credentials in Iowa’s summer high-school leagues.
Mt. Pleasant High’s
6-foot-5 lefthander Braden Shull has emerged as the top prospect in
the state, high school or otherwise, for this year’s draft. His
prospect standing has closely paralleled the rise in his fastball
velocity, from 84-86 mph last fall, to 88-91 this spring.
Shull is one of three
Iowa prep hurlers who has been touching 91-92 mph. Washington High
righthander Dakota Freese and Mason City High righthander Brandon
Platts have also been in that range, but neither is quite in Shull’s
category as a prospect. Platts missed much of the spring with a
The state’s two best
high-school position prospects, coincidently, both roam the outfield
for Solon High. Derrick Loveless and Nick Day have also committed to
play together at Iowa, where freshman outfielder and Iowa native
Taylor Zuetenhorst has already established himself as the state’s
top 2013 prospect. Should that trio end up playing together, even for
two years, it would undoubtedly provide a shot in the arm for the
Hawkeyes program, which went a disappointing 20-32 in 2011.
Even with its subpar
season, Iowa could still end the state’s 10-year drought of not
producing a single draft pick from the college ranks as 6-foot-6
lefthander Matt Dermody has been very popular with area scouts dating
back to his junior year at Norwalk High. There is some frustration in
Dermody’s development into a legitimate pitching prospect, though,
as hasn’t added significant weight or strength in two years in
But Dermody now runs his
fastball into the upper-80s consistently, and touches the low-90s on
occasion, and has a sharp curveball as a fine complementary pick.
Scouts would prefer that Dermody spend another year in college to
further develop his talent, but he is an age-eligible sophomore and
the temptation might be there for Dermody to get into a professional
training program immediately.
On Iowa’s thriving
junior-college front, Iowa Western won the Junior College World
Series a year ago without having a single player drafted. The Rievers
earned the right to defend their 2010 national title, but that draft
quirk will not happen again as the team has a legitimate prospect in
6-foot-4, 220-pound freshman third baseman Damek Tomscha, who put
together a huge season with the bat (.374-13-55). Tomscha may
actually impress scouts even more with his raw arm strength as he has
been clocked at 95 mph across the infield. They are anxious to see
him show off his big arm on the mound, but Tomscha did not pitch at
all this spring.
The Reivers got off to
their customary slow start on their February/March southern road
swing and didn’t even top .500 overall until March 13. They rolled
after that, going 29-8 the rest of the way to easily qualify for a
return trip to the national tournament.
Des Moines Area (46-16)
also earned a chance at winning a national title, in this case the
National Junior College Athletic Association Division II
championship, and features its own top prospect for this year’s
draft in freshman righthander Austin Urban. A Pennsylvania native who
was originally slated to go to Penn State, Urban had moderate success
(6-4, 3.56, 68 IP/38 BB/84 SO) this spring, but drew plenty of
scouting attention with a fastball that was consistently 92-93 mph.
He flashed impressive secondary stuff, but struggled to throw strikes
and lacked pitchability.
Iowa in a Nutshell:
STRENGTH: Depth of
(1-to-5 scale): 3.
BEST COLLEGE TEAM:
TEAM: Iowa Western.
BEST HIGH-SCHOOL TEAM:
PROSPECT ON THE RISE:
Braden Shull, lhp, Mt. Pleasant HS. Improved mechanics had the
6-foot-6 Shull touching 91 mph this spring, a significant jump from
last summer, when he worked comfortably at 84-86. A top-notch
student, Shull has signed with Kansas State and could be a
PROSPECT ON THE
DECLINE: Patrick Lala, rhp, University of Iowa. Lala has an
electric arm and can touch 94-95 mph at times. But he has done little
over the last year to refine his max-effort delivery or command (46
IP/37 BB), which will probably not tempt a team to pick him much
higher than the Philadelphia Phillies did in 2010 (29th
WILD CARD: Matt
Dermody, lhp, University of Iowa. The 6-foot-5, 200-pound Dermody
took a moderate step forward this spring as a prospect (4-6, 4.15, 85
IP/26 BB/75 SO), but as a draft-eligible sophomore, could blossom in
2012 with another year in school.
PROSPECT, Iowa Connection: Colin Rea, rhp, Indiana State
University (attended high school in Cascade).
TOP 2012 PROSPECT:
Calvin Matthews, rhp, Davis County HS, Bloomfield.
TOP 2013 PROSPECT:
Taylor Zeutenhorst, of, University of Iowa.
HIGHEST DRAFT PICKS
Mike King, lhp, Morningside College (1980, Athletics/1st round, 4th pick).
2006 Draft: Zach
Jevne, rhp, U. of Northern Iowa (Orioles/27th round).
2007 Draft: Jon
Gilmore, 3b, Iowa City HS (Braves/1st round, 33rd pick).
2008 Draft: B.J.
Hermsen, rhp, West Delaware HS, Manchester (Twins/6th round).
2009 Draft: Steve
Turnbull, rhp, U. of Iowa (Blue Jays/17th round).
2010 Draft: Kellen
Sweeney, 3b, Jefferson HS, Cedar Rapids (Blue Jays/2nd round).
TOP PROSPECTS, GROUPS
ONE and TWO
TWO (Projected HIGH-Round Draft /
1. BRADEN SHULL, lhp,
Mt. Pleasant HS
+ pitcher’s build
(6-5/200), + velo improvement, FB now 88-91; CU has good shape, lacks
hard bite, OK CH.
2. AUSTIN URBAN, rhp,
Des Moines Area CC (Fr.)
PA product, Orioles
27th-rounder in 2010; FB sits 90-92/T-95, flashes + SL;
so-so success as FR (6-4, 3.55).
3. MATT DERMODY, lhp,
University of Iowa (So.)
Slender build (6-5/190),
struggles to gain strength; loose/easy arm; FB 88-89/T-92, gets good
tilt on CU/CH.
4. DAMEK TOMSCHA,
3b/rhp, Iowa Western CC (Fr.)
+ strong (6-2/205), + RH
power potential (.374-13-58), ++ raw arm strength, some scouts feel
future as RHP.
5. DAKOTA FREESE, rhp,
Washington HS, Cedar Rapids
loose arm/ slight frame (6-4/185), FB 89-92, flashes CU/SL sharpness,