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MLB Draft Preview: Iowa

Draft : : State Preview
David Rawnsley        
Published: Friday, May 17, 2013

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.  Please visit this page for all of the links to Perfect Game's 2013 Draft Preview content.

Iowa State-by-State List

It has been a very difficult spring for baseball in the state of Iowa, with consistently wet and cold conditions limiting both the frequency and quality of play at times. Despite that, the state has perhaps its best and deepest overall crop of pitching in many years, helped by the temporary inclusion of hard throwing Missouri resident Jacob Brentz in the PG Iowa Spring League. Brentz’ presence in the Spring League and the corresponding spring showcases in Iowa, along with players such as PG All-American A.J. Puk and fast developing right-hander Derek Burkamper have made the state a busy cross-checking destination whenever the weather allowed all spring.

The state is notably lacking in two important commodities, however, those being college prospects and position prospects. The University of Iowa has struggled again in 2013, posting a 19-27 record, and does not have a candidate to be selected in the top 10 rounds. The state’s junior colleges continue to be successful, however, particularly two-time national junior college champion Iowa Western and Division II Des Moines Area CC, which is currently 44-11.

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


PROSPECT ON THE RISE: Derek Burkamper, rhp, Muscatine HS.
Burkamper gave notice that he had taken a step up as a prospect at the PG Pitcher/Catcher Indoor Showcase in February, and has followed up on it with a very strong spring. There’s no reason with his age, build and delivery not to assume he has another level to improve to with additional strength and maturity.

WILD CARD: A.J. Puk, lhp/1b, Washington HS, Cedar Rapids:
Puk has a whole deck of wild cards when it comes to his draft status, starting with his dual talents as a pitcher and hitter, as well as his strong desire to continue hitting. He is a very good student with a scholarship to one of the most prominent baseball schools in the country in Florida.

 Spencer Navin, c, Vanderbilt (went to high school at Dowling Catholic HS in Des Moines)
Top 2014 Prospect: Keaton McKinney, rhp, Ankeny HS
Top 2015 Prospect: Blake Hickman, 1b, University of Iowa


Draft History:
Mike King, lhp, Morningside College (1980, Athletics/1st round, 4th 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)
2012 Draft: Alec Rash, rhp, Adel-Desoto HS (Phillies/2nd round)


College Players Drafted/Signed:
Junior College Players Drafted/Signed: 3/1
High School Players Drafted/Signed: 1/0


GROUP 1 (rounds 1-3)

1. A.J. PUK, lhp/1b, Washington HS, Cedar Rapids
The multi-talented Puk has been a ubiquitous presence at Perfect Game events since the beginning of his freshman year and is probably the best known and most heavily scouted Iowa high school product since Ryan Sweeney. Puk’s gradual and steady improvement as a left handed pitcher over the past four years, along with his highly projectable 6-foot-7, 220-pound build, led many to believe and hope that he could have a breakout spring and start touching the 93-95 mph range on his fastball that most believe is in his future. A combination of the poor weather and Puk’s well-known tendency to start slowly in the spring has prevented that from happening, although he did top out at 92 mph at the PG Pre-Draft Showcase on May 13. A further complicating factor for Puk’s draft status is that he has prospect level tools as a hitter that have developed in tandem with his talents on the mound. For more the Perfect Game All-American, read his PG Draft Focus profile here.

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