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A 7 heaven: A look at Iowa Hawkeyes and Gazette area players picked in 2022 MLB Draft
The group includes Cedar Rapids Prairie grad Levi Usher and Lisbon grad Austin Krob, both former Kirkwood Community College players
CEDAR RAPIDS — Austin Krob was asked via text the other day if he might have time for a quick interview.
The Lisbon High School grad and former Kirkwood Community College/TCU pitcher responded the following day.
“I’ll let you know when I have some free time. But as of now we are pretty busy majority of the day,” he politely texted.
Welcome to pro ball, Austin. The grind is real, and it’s constant.
Krob is less than a week into his career, working out with fellow recent San Diego Padres signees at the team’s minor league complex in Peoria, Ariz. Those signees include former Iowa Hawkeyes pitchers Adam Mazur and Dylan Nedved, by the way.
Eventually the trio will be assigned to one of the Padres’ minor league affiliates, whether it’s the Rookie-level Arizona Complex League Padres in Peoria, low-Class A Lake Elsinore of the California League or high-A Fort Wayne of the Midwest League.
It’s doubtful anyone will start higher than that.
Krob, Nedved and Mazur were among seven guys with Eastern Iowa or Hawkeyes ties that were taken in the recent Major League Baseball Draft and who are now pros. Former Iowa pitcher Ben Beutel signed as a non-drafted free agent with the Chicago White Sox after the draft.
Here’s a quick look at the seven, where they were drafted and what their signing bonuses were.
Iowa Hawkeyes/San Diego Padres
The right-handed pitcher became a revelation after starring last summer in the prestigious college Cape Cod League, transferring from South Dakota State and becoming the Big Ten Conference’s Pitcher of the Year. Iowa’s highest-drafted player in 32 years, he went in the second round to San Diego, the 53rd-overall pick. A mid-90s fastball is among a handful of pitches he throws. Signed with the Padres for $1.25 million, slightly below the slot value of $1,440,600.
Iowa/San Diego Padres
Nedved was a two-way player for Iowa until this season, when he was strictly a pitcher. The right-hander went 6-2 with three saves and a 3.47 earned run average in 19 appearances. Essentially was drafted where he was (ninth round) so the Padres could save money to go above slot to sign other picks. His pick’s value was $161,500, and Nedved signed for $20,000.
Lisbon/Kirkwood Community College/San Diego Padres
Spent three years at Texas Christian after one year at Kirkwood. Southpaw struck out 45 in 31 1/3 innings this season in 13 appearances, six starts. Had a team-high 16 starts in 2021, striking out 96 in 85 innings. Signing bonus for the 12th-rounder was $125,000, the maximum allowed under MLB rules for picks after the 10th round. Anything over $125,000 counts toward the team’s assigned total bonus pool for the first 10 rounds. Penalties are assessed for teams that go over their bonus pools.
Cedar Rapids Prairie/Kirkwood Community College/Kansas City Royals
Spent one season at Kirkwood, was drafted in the 39th round by the Los Angeles Angels but chose to attend Louisville instead, where he played three seasons, counting the 2020 COVID-shortened campaign. Started 63 games in center field this season for the Cardinals, hitting .285 with seven home runs. His defensive ability has been his calling card. Slot value for his 10th-round pick was $153,600, and Usher signed for $72,500.
Iowa/Tampa Bay Rays
The right-hander from Indianola went 4-1 with a save and 3.38 ERA in 19 appearances for the Hawkeyes this season. Struck out 61 in 40 innings and allowed just 30 hits. Tampa Bay nabbed him in the 18th round and signed him for $25,000.
Iowa/Toronto Blue Jays
The first baseman is a big man (listed 6-foot-5 and 255 pounds) and can hit the ball as far as anyone. Also has a solid eye at the plate. Those skills got the Johnston native picked by Toronto in the seventh round. Hit .335 with 13 home runs in 54 games this past season as a redshirt sophomore. His signing bonus of $197,500 was just slightly below slot value ($210,500).
Dubuque Wahlert/Texas Rangers
Outfielder declined to play his high school season, instead focusing on the draft and playing with the Clinton LumberKings of the collegiate Prospect League. Lefty swinger with prototypical size (6-3, 200 pounds) was taken by Texas in the sixth round and signed an above-slot deal with a bonus of $450,000. Slot value was $314,400. Texas drafted another Wahlert grad in catcher Ian Moller in the fourth round, though Moller never played one game of prep baseball, playing on traveling teams instead. He’s playing for Down East, the Rangers’ low-Class A minor league affiliate.
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