Robert Neustrom was the first Hawkeye off the board when the Baltimore Orioles selected him with the 145th pick. But that was just the start for Iowa baseball.
Tyler Cropley: Round 8, Pick 251, Washington Nationals
Add Tyler Cropley to Rick Heller's growing list of JUCO recruits to be drafted. Cropley was the fourth college senior catcher taken, when the Washington Nationals took him with the 251st pick, and his pick has a slot value of $157,200. He is also the first Iowa catcher to be drafted in the first 10 rounds since the Texas Rangers drafted Jim Sundberg in the first round in 1973.
Hey @TylerCropley what did you do today...oh, not much, signed a MLB contract with the @Nationals and ate some pizza at Townhouse. Pretty normal day....way to go Crop and congrats to all the Cropleys pic.twitter.com/qGoEpBTvyU
— Townhouse Pizza (@TownhousePizza) June 6, 2018
Baseball America ranked him as their 469th best draft prospect, so it is a little surprising to see him drafted in the first 10 rounds. But Cropley was arguably Iowa's best hitter all season. He led the team in batting average (.342), on-base percentage (.449), slugging percentage (.578), doubles (20), hits (68) and RBIs (50), while ranking second in home runs with nine. He was also one of the best defensive catchers in the Big Ten, making him an intriguing prospect for the Nationals.
Tyler Cropley is off the board. #Hawkeyes catcher goes No. 251 overall to the Nationals. Eighth round.@jimcallisMLB: "It wouldn't shock me if six, seven years from now, we look up and Tyler Cropley is maybe a backup in the big leagues."
— Dargan Southard (@Dargan_Southard) June 5, 2018
Cropley's departure leaves a massive hole behind the plate for Iowa next season.
Woke up this morning officially a member of the @Nationals organization! I couldnt have done it without all the people who have helped me get to where I am today and where Ill be going in the future!
— Tyler Cropley (@TylerCropley) June 6, 2018
The selections of Cropley and Allgeyer mean that Iowa had two players selected in the first nine rounds of the draft for the second straight season. Iowa's had six players drafted in the first nine rounds since Heller arrived five years ago; prior to his arrival they had just one single-digit round draft pick in the previous 20 (!) seasons.
Nick Allgeyer: Round 12, Pick 356, Toronto Blue Jays
If the Big Ten named a Comeback Player of the Year, Nick Allgeyer would have been the runaway winner. His fantastic junior season, after he missed all of 2017 due to Tommy John surgery, is complete, as the Toronto Blue Jays selected him with the 356th pick. He went a little higher than Baseball America's No. 455 ranking.
Allgeyer doesn't throw exceptionally hard or have a wipeout breaking pitch, but he still finished with 95 strikeouts, the second most in program history, due to his command. His command was showcased with him issuing just 28 walks. Allgeyer also had a team-best 2.41 ERA and13 quality starts over 97 innings.
Rick Heller just said that pitchers Nick Allgeyer and Zach Daniels will turn pro as he expected, but juco recruit Korry Howell still is deciding what to do and has until July 16th to make a decision.
— Pat Harty (@PatHarty) June 6, 2018
Allgeyer going four rounds earlier than Nick Gallagher last year is a testament to his 2018 season, as well as why Iowa shouldn't be surprised it won't have him on Friday nights in 2019. He joins Matt Dermody in the Blue Jays' farm system, albeit on different levels. For Iowa, it means replacing one of the best Friday night starters in the conference for a third straight season.
Korry Howell: Round 12, Pick 365, Milwaukee Brewers
There was some hope that Korry Howell would fall into the 20th round range of the MLB Draft and stick with his commitment to Iowa. That didn't happen, as the Milwaukee Brewers took him less than 10 picks after Allgeyer. The Kirkwood product is still thinking, but right now he's leaning towards signing with Milwaukee.
KH: "This is what Ive been working for my whole life, so now is the time to put on the big-boy pants and start working." #MLBDraft
— Dargan Southard (@Dargan_Southard) June 6, 2018
Howell was expected to compete for the starting shortstop job at Iowa in 2019. He hit .401/.483/.572 at Kirkwood last season to go along with 22 doubles, five triples and 40 stolen bases.
Iowa would welcome a player of Howell's caliber, even though middle infield isn't a weak spot heading into 2019. If he decides to turn pro, Iowa will still have returning starters Mitchell Boe and Kyle Crowl, while Zion Pettigrew waits in the wings. Adding Howell would add some defensive stability at shortstop and a solid leadoff hitter.
Zach Daniels: Round 19, Pick 562, Atlanta Braves
Baseball America didn't include Zach Daniels in its top-500 draft rankings, making him a wildcard come draft day. The wait was over when the Atlanta Braves selected him with the 562nd pick, making him the second Iowa pitcher drafted this season.
In his Iowa career, Daniels has racked up plenty of wins and saves, while keeping a low ERA. He has 14 wins, 11 saves and a 2.68 ERA in his Iowa career. However, his ERA was 2.56 as a junior in 2018. Daniels has a fastball in the low-to-mid 90s and a good slider, which helped him strike out 49 batters in 45.2 innings.
Just talked to #Hawkeyes pitcher Zach Daniels, who confirmed he will forego his senior season & sign with the Braves.
Said he got the draft news while on his way to Chick-fil-A. Which is headquartered where?
— Dargan Southard (@Dargan_Southard) June 6, 2018
Daniels was Iowa's most trusted reliever last season, as he maintained his closer role for the entire year. Daniels signing with Atlanta is a huge loss for the bullpen, especially since Nick Nelsen, who had the second best reliever ERA at 3.60, graduated. Next year, Iowa will need to find a new closer.
Brady Schanuel: 27th Round, 815 Pick, Milwaukee Brewers
Brady Schanuel became the third Iowa pitcher drafted on day three. The Milwaukee Brewers selected Schanuel with the 815th pick, meaning he has been drafted in each of the past three drafts.
Although, as expected, Schanuel's stock dropped after a rough season in Iowa City. Last season, he was drafted in the 20th round, a year after going in the 36th round. In 14 appearances and 13 starts in 2018, Schanuel posted a 5.94 ERA, along with 65 strikeouts over 53 innings. However, he walked 43 batters, which led to a lot of short outings.
Going in the 27th round is by no means bad, but it gives Schanuel a lot to think about. Along with losing financial leverage as a senior, another bad season with Iowa would tank his draft stock even more. That said, a bounce back season could help him pitch his way into the top-20 rounds. The plan coming into the year was a one-year pit stop with the Hawkeyes, and even though he didn't live up to expectations, that still might be the plan. If he chooses to turn pro, Cole McDonald will undoubtedly be Iowa's Friday night starter next season.
Best of luck to Cropley, Allgeyer, Daniels, Schanuel and Howell (if he decides to go pro) as they take the next steps in their career.