Draft : : State Preview
Monday, May 28, 2012

State Preview: Iowa

David Rawnsley        
Photo: Perfect Game

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 scouting reports on all Group 1 and 2 players as ranked in Perfect Game's state-by-state scouting lists.

Contributing: Allan Simpson/Ben Collman

Iowa State-by-State List
2011 Iowa Overview

Iowa Overview:
Rash, Inspired Play of Iowa Western are Iowa Highlights

Two developments have made this a positive spring for baseball fans in Iowa, aside from the unseasonably warm, dry weather.

On an individual front, Adel-DeSoto-Minden High righthander Alec Rash is a potential draft pick in the top two rounds. The last player from the state to be picked as high as the second round was shortstop Kellen Sweeney, who went 69th
 overall in 2010 (Blue Jays), 17 picks later than his brother Ryan, who went 52nd overall (White Sox) in 2003. Rash has a legitimate chance to better both the Sweeneys and go in the sandwich round, although predicting his landing point is difficult.

On a team front, Iowa can claim the top junior-college club in the country, at least until the Junior College World Series is complete. Iowa Western (57-5) entered the World Series, currently underway in Grand Junction, Colo., as the nation’s No. 1-ranked team. The Reivers are led by outfielder/righthander Tanner Kreitemeier, a national player-of-the-year candidate who is hitting .430-7-56 while also going 11-0, 1.51 on the mound, after transferring from Nebraska. Kreitemeier, an Oklahoma State recruit, and third baseman Damek Tomscha (.438-15-64), an Auburn signee, are both potential top-10 round picks. A second Iowa JC team, Des Moines Area (50-13), is also a favorite in the National Junior College Athletic Association Division II World Series.

The University of Iowa (23-27), the state’s lone Division I program, failed to qualify for the Big Ten post-season tournament, despite defeating No. 14 Purdue twice in the final weekend of the season. The Hawkeyes will contribute marginally to the draft, with only lefthander Matt Dermody, a potential top 10-15 round pick, the only certain selection. They do, however, have a strong recruiting class ready to enter school next fall, including Illinois prep standouts like lefthander Ryan Borucki, catcher/righthander Blake Hickman and shortstop Devin Pickett, along with Iowa righthander Calvin Mathews.

Iowa in a nutshell:

Righthanded pitching.
WEAKNESS: High-school position prospects.
OVERALL RATING (1-to-5 scale): 4.


PROSPECT ON THE RISE: Alec Rash, rhp, Adel-Minden-DeSoto HS, Adel.
Rash disappeared off the upper Midwest prospect landscape last year when he went to live with his mother in Alabama. He was also slow to reappear when he returned to the state as a senior as he played football (wide receiver) last fall and was a dominant basketball player this winter. But once Rash took the mound after basketball season ended, he quickly established himself as the best prospect in Iowa and one of the best in the region. With no high-school baseball in the spring in Iowa, Rash typically threw a series of 2-3 inning outings in the Perfect Game Iowa Spring League while also appearing in a couple of Perfect Game showcases before making his first high-school start of the 2012 season on May 21 (6 IP, 1 H, 12 SO). His fastball, which now frequently touches 95 mph, and slider have taken big steps forward this spring, consistent with his rising draft status.

WILD CARD: Storm Throne, rhp, Morningside College.
The 6-foot-7, 230-pound Throne attends Morningside on a basketball scholarship, and averaged 9.3 points and 4.3 rebounds a game, while shooting 44 percent on 3-pointers during the 2011-2012 season. He shows much more long-term promise on the mound, however. He strongly resembles former Northern Iowa basketball player Lucas O’Rear, who signed with the Cincinnati Reds as a 13th-round draft in 2010, even though he didn’t pitch that spring after Northern Iowa dropped its baseball program. Throne still has a ways to go to develop his pitching skills, but his fastball has been up to 95 mph at times this spring and he could surpass O’Rear’s draft slot for the right team.

Matt Koch, rhp, University of Louisville (Attended high school in Cherokee).
Top 2013 Prospect: A.J. Puk, lhp/1b, Washington HS, Cedar Rapids.
Top 2014 Prospect: Keaton McKinney, 1b/rhp, Ankeny HS.


Draft History:
Mike King, lhp, Morningside College (1980, Athletics/1st round, 4th pick).
2006 Draft: Zach Jevne, rhp, University 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, University of Iowa (Blue Jays/17th round).
2010 Draft: Kellen Sweeney, 3b, Jefferson HS, Cedar Rapids (Blue Jays/2nd round).
2011 Draft: Brandon Platts, rhp, Mason City HS (Pirates/13th round).


College Players Drafted/Signed:
Junior College Players Drafted/Signed: 4/3.
High School Players Drafted/Signed: 5/2.


Best Athlete:
Tanner Kreitemeier, of/rhp, Iowa Western CC.
Best Hitter: Tanner Kreitemeier, of/rhp, Iowa Western CC.
Best Power: Damek Tomscha, 3b, Iowa Western CC.
Best Speed: Zach Coppola, of, Dowling Catholic HS, Windsor Heights.
Best Defender: Damek Tomscha, 3b, Iowa Western CC.
Best Velocity: Alec Rash, rhp, Adel-DeSoto-Minden HS, Adel.
Best Breaking Stuff: Alec Rash, rhp, Adel-DeSoto-Minden HS, Adel.
Best Command: Calvin Mathews, rhp, Davis County HS, Bloomfield.


(Projected ELITE-Round Draft / Rounds 1-3)

1. ALEC RASH, rhp, Adel-DeSoto-Minden HS, Adel
Rash’s evolution into a top pitching prospect hasn’t taken a conventional route. Not only did he move from Iowa to Alabama and back to Iowa while in high school (all the while playing three sports), but he also changed his arm action, with positive effect. When Rash left Iowa after his sophomore year at ADM High, he had an extended, straight-over-the-top release point, a downer curve and fastball that was just starting to reach the 90s. When he came back a year later, he was throwing from a tight, three-quarters release point with a fastball that touched 94-95 mph and a fast-developing slider. Rash has been very consistent all spring pitching in Perfect Game’s Iowa Spring League, maintaining plus velocity on his fastball while showing significant improvement on his slider and flashing feel for a changeup. His loose 6-foot-5, 195-pound build and his superior athleticism give scouts reason to believe that there might be another tick or two of velocity in his future, as well. Tampa Bay Rays righthander Jeremy Hellickson, the 2011 American League Rookie of the Year, was the last Iowa pitcher to be picked in the top five rounds (4th round, 2005) and Rash seems almost assured of surpassing Hellickson.

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