State Report: Iowa

***** One for the books
**** Banner year
*** Solid, not spectacular
** Not up to par
* Nothing to see here
Junior colleges dominate the prospect landscape in Iowa. Des Moines Area CC righthanders Mitch Mormann and Patrick Cooper are the Hawkeye State's top talents, though it's Iowa Western that has made three consecutive appearances in the Junior College World Series. The best four-year college prospects are all senior pitchers—Northern Iowa lefthander Nick Kirk and Iowa righties Mike Schurz and Steve Turnbull—and there are no hitters of note anywhere in the state.




1. Mitch Mormann, rhp, Des Moines Area CC
2. Patrick Cooper, rhp, Des Moines Area CC
3. Brian Feekin, lhp, Iowa Western CC
4. Nick Kirk, lhp, Northern Iowa
5. Mike Schurz, rhp, Iowa
6. Matt Koch, rhp, Washington HS, Cherokee
7. Matt Dermody, lhp, Norwalk HS
8. Derek Landis, rhp, Iowa Western CC
9. Steve Turnbull, rhp, Iowa
10. Shuhei Fujiya, rhp, Northern Iowa


Mormann Continues To Draw Crowds

Scouts have flocked to see righthander Mitch Mormann since he touched 94 mph early in his freshman season of 2008. The 6-foot-6, 230-pounder can push his fastball into the mid-90s, but he remains a one-pitch pitcher who's still trying to figure things out, which is why he probably won't go in the first five rounds. His secondary pitches, command and delivery all need work and showed little improvement this spring, though he did flash a hard slider. He's committed to Louisiana State, and if he can add polish and succeed in the Southeastern Conference he could become a first-rounder in 2010. The Indians drafted him in the 17th round last year.

Righthander Patrick Cooper doesn't have Mormann's velocity, but he had much better strikeout numbers (106 in 72 innings, versus 71 in 77 frames for Mormann) at Des Moines Area CC. A 6-foot-3, 204-pounder, he has much better pitchability and athleticism than Mormann. Cooper has an 89-92 mph fastball, a solid slider and a decent changeup. He spent his freshman season playing for head coach at Elvis Dominguez at Eastern Kentucky and has committed to play for Dominguez next year at Bradley.

After redshirting at Nebraska in 2007, lefthander Brian Feekin has led Iowa Western to consecutive Junior College World Series berths. The 6-foot-6, 220-pounder threw harder on a more consistent basis in 2008, but toned down his delivery and worked more at 87-90 mph this spring. He's still working on his command and his slider. A 41st-round pick of the Rangers last year, he'll attend Louisville in 2010 if he doesn't turn pro.

Nick Kirk might have gone in the top 10 rounds last year if he hadn't hurt his forearm in early April, costing him the stuff that allowed him to throw a 15-strikeout no-hitter against Evansville. This spring, he regained his 89-91 mph fastball with nice run and sink, as well as a solid slider. As a 6-foot-1, 200-pound senior, he's not projectable, but he's a lefthander who throws strikes down in the zone.

Righthander Mike Schurz has bounced back after missing all of 2008 recuperating from Tommy John surgery. The 6-foot-2, 200-pounder has a 90-93 mph fastball and a low-80s slider, though he'll have to improve his command. He spent his first two college seasons at Radford.

The state's best high school prospect is righthander Matt Koch, but scouts think he's not ready for pro ball and would be better off fulfilling his commitment to Louisville. Koch, whose father Scott is his head coach at Washington High (Cherokee), is a projectable 6-foot-3, 185-pounder. He can touch 92 mph with good run and little effort, though he sat at 87-88 for much of the spring. He also has some feel for a slider. Koch is a four-sport standout, also lettering in football, basketball and track.

Northern Iowa is dropping baseball, which may mean the end of Lucas O'Rear's days on the diamond. While Panthers players can transfer without sitting out a year, he's on a full basketball scholarship and it's unlikely he'll give that up to take a partial ride elsewhere to continue playing baseball. A 6-foot-6, 255-pound righthander, O'Rear has an 89-93 mph fastball and a low-80s slider that's sharp at times. He's athletic and throws with little effort, and he has a lot of potential that could be unlocked with more innings. His pro chances are better in baseball than in basketball, but the Missouri Valley Conference named him its sixth man of the year after he averaged 5.2 points and 5.5 rebounds per game last winter. He's not eligible for the baseball draft yet because he's a sophomore.