Unless his signability scares teams away, two-way star Matt Macri should be the first Iowa high school player ever drafted in the first round. He would be just the fourth Iowa product taken that high, and the first since Tim Costo in 1990. Another two-way talent, Brad Nelson, could go as early as the second round, underscoring what's considered the best high school group in the state's history.
Projected First-Round Picks
Matt Macri. Macri was Iowa's high school football player of the year after accounting for 36 touchdowns as a quarterback and leading Dowling High to a 13-0 record and the state 4-A championship. His football days are done, but he still has tough decisions ahead. He wants to attend Notre Dame and it may require a bonus of $3 million to change his mind. If he goes to school, he'll be a draft-eligible sophomore in 2003. He also has to decide if he wants to pitch. Scouts love his 92-94 mph fastball, hard slider, effortless mechanics and projectable body (6-foot-2, 185 pounds). His upside may be higher as a pitcher, but Macri prefers playing shortstop. He's the best true shortstop available, though at least one scouting director questions his quickness at the position. Others have timed Macri in 6.7 seconds in the 60-yard dash and have no doubt that he's athletic enough to play there. Any question about Macri's ability centers around his bat, though he has hit everywhere he has played. His strength gives him above-average power potential for a middle infielder.
Possible Second- to Fifth-Round Picks
Brad Nelson. Nelson is one of the better high school hitters available, with considerable power to all fields. He has put on a show at talent showcases, where he faces stiffer competition than he does in high school. He has pitched, showing a fastball that touches the low 90s, but doesn't face the career choice that Macri does. The 6-foot-2, 225-pound Nelson is a hitter all the way. His strong arm and good hands play well at third base, but his below-average speed may result in a move to first base.
Alan Bomer. Iowa State is dropping its baseball program, so Bomer could be the last player ever drafted from the school. He has never needed surgery, but elbow problems limited him to a total of one inning in his first two years with the Cyclones, as he redshirted for all of 1999. He's still raw and inexperienced, but is drawing plenty of interest from the pros as a draft-eligible sophomore and other colleges as a transfer. His 6-foot-3, 180-pound frame makes him projectable, and he already throws 90-93 mph. His secondary pitches, a hard slider and a changeup, also show promise.
Others To Watch:
RHP Nic Ungs was the Missouri Valley Conference pitcher of the year, but he didn't help himself by getting bombed in his final outing, an NCAA regional loss to Nebraska. He throws an 89-94 mph fastball, a curveball and changeup for strikes, isn't big and has a maximum-effort delivery . . . The MVC player of the year, senior OF/1B Ryan Brunner, can hit for power and average. He runs and throws well enough that he probably can play the outfield as a pro . . . OF Drew Davidson, Macri's Dowling High teammate, is a sleeper, an athletic center fielder who can do a little of everything . . . Senior OF David Burkholder, the NAIA's 2000 player of the year is 6-foot-1, 210-pound lefty slugger with a quick bat and a strong arm . . . Burkholder was a known quantity, but other small college players kept emerging all spring. RHP Nate Broehm, who's 6-foot-6 and played on the Waldorf CC basketball team, went from 86-87 mph last summer to 89-93 this season. He has life on his pitches and an outstanding changeup. He's strongly committed to Minnesota. RHP J.D. Scholten and OF Ryan Fitzgerald helped themselves with strong showings at Perfect Game's late May showcase. Scholten is 6-foot-6 and throws 88-90 mph with good movement. Fitzgerald ran the 60-yard dash in 6.53 seconds and displayed power to all fields . . . Another small college player, Wartburg senior C Matt Thede has a chance to be drafted. He was the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference player of the year and triple-crown winner in both 2000 and 2001 . . . Prairie High (Cedar Rapids) RHP Zach Lerch is a projectable 6-foot-4, 180-pounder who already throws in the low 90s.
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