State Report: Iowa

Boys of summer don't have much to contribute this year




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THIS YEAR'S CROP
***** One for the books
**** Banner year
*** Solid, not spectacular
** Not up to par
* Nothing to see here
Rating compares this year's group to what a state typically produces, not to other states
Iowa may be the most atypical state in the country when it comes to producing baseball talent. Its top prospects almost always come from the prep ranks, even though Iowa is the only state in the continental United States that plays its high school season exclusively in the summer. The junior colleges, led by defending Junior College World Series champ Iowa Western and NJCAA Division II power Des Moines Area, often overshadow the University of Iowa, the state's lone NCAA Division I program. The Hawkeye State doesn't figure to have a player drafted in the first five rounds this year, and its colleges and juco ranks haven't had anyone selected that early since the Royals tabbed Iowa righthander Wes Obermueller in the second round in 1999.

NATIONAL TOP 200 PROSPECTS

None

OTHER PROSPECTS OF NOTE

1. Austin Urban, rhp, Des Moines Area CC
2. Damek Tomscha, 3b, Iowa Western CC
3. Braden Shull, lhp, Mount Pleasant HS
4. Taylor Eikenberry, lhp, Iowa Western CC   
5. Matt Dermody, lhp, Iowa
6. Brandon Platts, rhp, Mason City HS
7. Dakota Freese, rhp, Washington HS, Cedar Rapids
8. Patrick Lala, rhp, Iowa
9. Ian Texidor, 3b, Southeastern CC
10. Derrick Loveless, of, Solon HS

SCOUTING REPORTS

Juco Standouts Headline Iowa Crop

One of the top high school prospects in Pennsylvania last year, Austin Urban turned down the Orioles as a 27th-round pick. Originally committed to Penn State, he opted to attend Des Moines Area CC so he could be eligible for the 2011 draft. After a terrible start this spring, he came on down the stretch and struck out 13 against Williston State (N.D.) in a district tournament championship game win that put the Bears in the Division II Junior College World Series. A 6-foot-2, 180-pound righthander, Urban has a 90-92 mph fastball that touches 94. He also an 83-85 mph slider and the makings of a changeup. Scouts don't love his one-piece arm action, however, and he needs to repeat his delivery better in order to improve his command.

Third baseman Damek Tomscha was the most dangerous hitter on an Iowa Western CC team that returned to Grand Junction to defend its 2010 national championship. A freshman drafted in the 50th round by the Phillies a year ago, he's a physical 6-foot-3, 223-pounder with lots of raw righthanded power. His swing is long, and he has yet to prove he can hit quality breaking balls. He moves well at third base, and scouts are intrigued by his potential as a pitcher after clocking him at 95 mph throwing across the infield during fall practice. Tomscha prefers to hit and didn't take the mound this spring.

Lefthander Taylor Eikenberry saved the championship game of the 2010 Juco World Series after having Tommy John the year before as a high school senior. Originally committed to Baylor, he has spent two years at Iowa Western CC and has signed with North Carolina State for 2012. The 6-foot-1, 220-pounder throws strikes with an 86-88 mph fastball that touches 90 and an improving curveball.

Iowa's best high school prospect is lefthander Braden Shull, a late bloomer who started touching 90-91 mph with his fastball this spring. Extremely projectable at 6-foot-6 and 215 pounds, he has a lot of work to do with his secondary pitches. He has committed to Kansas State.

The state's top four-year college prospect is Matt Dermody, a draft-eligible sophomore. He's a 6-foot-5, 200-pound lefthander with an 88-90 mph fastball that peaks at 93, but he has a hitch in his funky delivery that reduces his projectability. His curveball, changeup and command are all decent.