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Draft '99 IOWA ****

1. Wes Obermueller, rhp, U. of Iowa
2. Darin Naatjes, of, West Lyon HS, Inwood
3. Nathan Cromer, lhp, Lincoln HS, Des Moines
4. Nate Hilton, rhp, Iowa State U.
5. Jason Cromer, lhp, Lincoln HS, Des Moines

Iowa is traditionally one of the tougher states to read because it has no formal spring high school baseball program. Scouts got their best opportunity to judge the talent from Iowa and surrounding areas at the Perfect Game Showcase in Cedar Rapids in late May . . . The most impressive local prospect was 6-foot-7, 235-pound OF Darin Naatjes, a four-sport star and one of the most impressive physical specimens in the country. He can hit a baseball as far as any 18-year-old and projects top-of-the-scale 80 power on the 20-to-80 scale. He also holds his school's 100-meter dash record, an indication of his raw speed. His arm grades out as an above-average tool. Scouts didn't see the body life in Naatjes they saw last summer at California's Area Code Games, when he burst onto the national scene. One of the best tight ends in the nation, he has committed to play football at Stanford and has sent out negative signals on his signability. A lingering knee problem also is an issue. He has dislocated his knee cap twice in the last six months--once playing football, once in basketball, another sport he excels in. He could be picked early in the draft; he could just as easily slide right out of the picture . . . Twins Jason and Nathan Cromer acquitted themselves well at the showcase. Nathan had been the more attractive of the two 6-foot-4, 210-pound lefthanders, but Jason closed the gap by showing off a 90-mph fastball and decent breaking ball. Nathan has the more standard arm action and still throws a little harder. Their signability is clouded by a commitment to Wichita State . . . Scouts also aren't sure what to make of 6-foot-3, 195-pound RHP Wes Obermueller, a converted shortstop who struggled on the mound in his first extended trial at pitching. He was hit hard and demonstrated little feel for his new role. He's also almost 23, a little old to be changing jobs. He's intriguing because he has an above-average fastball (92-94 mph) and an ideal pitcher's build with a loose arm.

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