Prep Baseball

Connor Van Scoyoc of Cedar Rapids Jefferson excited for upcoming MLB draft

J-Hawk senior was named Gatorade Baseball Player of the Year on Tuesday

Cedar Rapids Jefferson's Connor Van Scoyoc (21) throws a pitch during the 2015 Bob Vrbicek Metro Baseball Tournament. (The Gazette)
Cedar Rapids Jefferson's Connor Van Scoyoc (21) throws a pitch during the 2015 Bob Vrbicek Metro Baseball Tournament. (The Gazette)

Cedar Rapids Jefferson senior Connor Van Scoyoc received a phone call Tuesday morning.

His older brother, Spencer, was on the other end to offer him congratulations. The younger Van Scoyoc was recognized as Gatorade’s Iowa Baseball Player of the Year, becoming the first J-Hawk to earn the award.

Spencer should expect a little good-natured ribbing for not getting the honor first.

“I can bug him a little bit about it,” Connor said. “We’re always competing against each other. I always want to one-up him. It was nice of him to call.”

Connor Van Scoyoc could receive an even more important call next week when Major League Baseball holds its annual Amateur Draft. The 6-foot-5 right-hander is expected to be chosen sometime during the multi-round selection process from June 4-6.

“I’m really anxious for this upcoming week and seeing how it goes from there,” Connor said. “We’re going to talk about it as a family and build off it.”

Time demands have increased recently, juggling his role with the J-Hawks and performing for scouts. He has a 92-mile per hour fastball with an 11-to-5 curveball, according to Perfect Game. Connor had a workout Wednesday, returning in time to make Jefferson’s home game with Davenport Central.

“We’ve been working out with a lot of pro teams lately,” Connor said. “It’s nice to have all those workouts just to get a feel for what those guys are thinking, too.”

The Van Scoyoc family is no stranger to the MLB Draft. Spencer was drafted in 19th round with the 582nd pick in 2016 by the Toronto Blue Jays. Their father, Aaron, was signed as a 21st-round pick of the New York Yankees in 1989.

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Plenty of factors will determine his future. Draft placement and contracts always play a part and they have an idea of what is appealing.

“We’ve talked about it but haven’t released a number, yet,” said Connor, whose grandfather, Jim, is a Hall of Fame Coach who led Norway to seven state titles. “We’ve got an idea around where we want to go.”

If the situation is not ideal, he has options. The younger Van Scoyoc has signed with Arizona State like his brother, who finished his sophomore season with the Sun Devils in May.

“Yes,” he said about ASU still being in the plans. “I’m signed there. Obviously, it would be very nice to go down there. It’s very warm and they have tradition.”

At the heart of the talent and toughness that stymies opposing batters is a love for the game of baseball. He can usually be found at the diamond, whether it is at Jefferson or the Norway field.

“He’s a diamond dog,” Jefferson co-head coach Gordy Nordgren said. “He’s here early working on the diamond. He’s at the Norway diamond. He just loves baseball. He has a passion for it.”

He has his sights set on big goals with the J-Hawks as well. He said he has become more of a leader with classmate Brayden Frazier, who has signed to play at Iowa. Jefferson (6-1) has started strong, winning the Bob Vrbicek Metro Baseball tournament.

“We’re pretty excited about how it goes,” Connor said. “Hope to get a state championship here at Jefferson.”

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Connor has qualified to be a finalist for Gatorade National Baseball Player of the Year award, which considers athletic and academic excellence, as well as citizenship.

“It’s very cool to have that, especially here at Jefferson,” Connor said. “That is an honor.”

Connor is 1-0 this season with a 1.24 earned-run average, striking out eight in just 5 2/3 innings. Last season, he garnered Class 4A second-team all-state honors, going 5-0 with a 0.96 ERA and 44 strikeouts in 43 2/3 innings. Connor was a third-team pick as a sophomore, posting a 7-2 record and 1.40 ERA.

According to the news release, Connor is rated 115th in the Class of 2018 by Perfect Game, receiving all-region and All-American mentions by Rawlings and Perfect Game. Van Scoyoc owned a 3.89 grade-point average and is a member of National Honor Society. The release noted his volunteer efforts at St. Jude’s Church in Cedar Rapids and dedicating time to clean up baseball fields and mentor youth players in the Norway Baseball Association.

Jefferson co-head coach Terry Schneekloth said teachers jumped at the opportunity to write letters of recommendation to be submitted with the award nomination.

“He’s the epitome of what you want an athlete to be,” Schneekloth said. “Humble on the outside and confident on the inside.

“He’s willing to do the things normal kids don’t necessarily want to do, but he knows he has to do the things that keep him ground. That comes from good upbringing.”

Other Gazette-area players to earn the award are Cedar Rapids Kennedy’s Austin Christensen (2011), West Delaware’s B.J. Hermsen (2008) and Iowa City High’s Jon Gilmore (2007).

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“Connor is a terrific kid as well as a very deserving ballplayer,” Cedar Rapids Kennedy Coach Bret Hoyer said in the release. “I recommend him 100 percent.”

l Comments: (319) 368-8679; kj.pilcher@thegazette.com

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