High School | General | 3/30/2020

Baumler Taking His Own Path

Blake Dowson        
Photo: Carter Baumler (Perfect Game)

Carter Baumler says Iowa kids are just a little different. Players from there scrap a little more, play with a grit that isn’t seen other places, he says.

Baumler, a Grimes native who attends Dowling Catholic in Des Moines, had his chance to represent his home state on a national stage when he was selected to pitch in the 2019 Perfect Game All-American Classic out in San Diego last August.

He and fellow All-American and Iowa native Calvin Harris reveled in the opportunity to represent Iowa in the event, knowing Perfect Game got its start in the Hawkeye State, just like them.

“The Classic is something you dream about,” Baumler said. “Actually being there, things go by so quick. Thinking back to the game, it’s almost like I blacked out and played it, and then I came back to reality…Building the relationships that we built, being able to still talk to guys now that we’re away from each other is really cool. It felt like a dream.”

Baumler knows the challenges that can come with growing up in Iowa and playing baseball, too. The high school season happens during the summer. His Perfect Game resume isn’t littered with travel ball tournaments that happen between May and August.

That’s one reason he has become a regular in the Perfect Game Spring League, held in recent years in the Cedar Rapids area and now at the new Prospect Meadows Sports Complex in Marion.

For the past three years, Baumler has been one of the top players rostered in the league, which spans the months of March and April.

In each of the past three years, Baumler has also attended the Spring Top Prospect Showcase in Cedar Rapids. It is those events, plus a select number of events he plays in the fall months with the Iowa Sticks, that have earned him the exposure he has been working to achieve.

“Growing up in Iowa, I thought baseball was just a summer sport,” he said. “Once you got to pro ball or college, then it transferred over to spring ball. My freshman and sophomore years I just went about my business and played baseball. Then my recruitment took off in the fall. With Iowa baseball happening during the summer, I learned that recruitment needed to happen during the fall. So the Iowa Sticks really helped me out with getting my name out there…It really came down to doing showcases in the spring and the Iowa Sticks helping me out in the fall, going to different PG tournaments.”

Baumler, who is committed to play at TCU and is the No. 15 righthanded pitching prospect in the 2020 class according to PG, played in his first WWBA World Championship last October in Jupiter, Fla.

Before that, he had made back-to-back trips with the Iowa Sticks to the WWBA Underclass World Championships in 2017 and 2018 in Fort Myers, Fla.

Jupiter was eye-opening for him. Up until a few years ago, he didn’t know that whole world even existed. Then he was playing in the biggest tournament of the year against the best talent in prep baseball.

That includes both prospects from the United States and outside of the country. As a member of the Reds Midwest Scout Team at the event, he got to see that firsthand.

“It was my first time seeing all those scouts and the golf carts,” Baumler said. “It was a great experience. All of the high-end talent from across the country and some other countries were there. I had a kid from Cuba on our team. It almost felt like professional baseball…Everyone there benefitted from it.”

There have been prospects from Iowa and Wisconsin who have decided to forego their summer high school seasons to instead play on the travel ball circuit. Jarred Kelenic, a Waukesha, Wisc. native and sixth overall pick in the 2018 draft, made that decision.

Baumler considered it. But ultimately, the chance to win a state title with Dowling Catholic in the biggest classification (4A), while competing in the most talented conference in the state, was too enticing.

On top of that, he knows playing in the PG Spring League and attending PG showcases will do plenty to get his arm in front of scouts.

The talent in the PG Spring League this year was higher than ever, with a number of top prospects rostered and the depth of talent better than ever. Scouts in attendance were able to see plenty of talent from all over the Midwest in one place.

“I get to see high-end players,” Baumler said of the PG Spring League. “Spring League gives guys a challenge, whether that’s swinging or pitching. It really prepares you for a [summer] season or showcases where you’re going to be facing high-end, talented players. You get to see those guys’ reactions, too. Those talented players, they’re on your fastball a little more. If you hang a curveball, they’re going to be on it.”

PG Spring League was suspended along with every other sporting event in the country a few weeks ago, so Baumler isn’t able to see that competition right now.

He’s doing everything he can to keep a normal routine. Playing catch almost every day, throwing bullpens when he can, getting in his lifts. He is hopeful he can head back over to Prospect Meadows in a few weeks and continue his work in the PG Spring League.

If not, he will shift his focus to winning a state title with Dowling.

“Right now I’m continuing everything I’ve been doing,” Baumler said. “I’m throwing two bullpens a week…I’m just going to keep going from there, playing as much catch as I can, which is almost every day, and staying true to my workout plan.”

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