Iowa's Best 2018 MLB Draft Prospects
1. Brandon Williamson, LHP, North Iowa Area JC (BA Rank: 168)
JC • So. • 6-5 • 210 • L-L • Texas Christian
An athletic, 6-foot-5 lefty, Williamson got off to a terrible start to his sophomore season at NIACC. A month into the season he had a 5.89 ERA and was allowing two baserunners per inning. But since late March, he posted a 2.08 ERA with 1.2 baserunners per inning and 15.5 strikeouts per nine innings. Williamson boasts a varied repertoire as he’ll mix a 90-95 mph fastball, a pair of average breaking balls and a less-developed, but potentially average, changeup. His slider shows signs of developing into an above-average pitch down the road. Williamson’s below-average control will have to improve, but there’s nothing in his delivery that would indicate continued control issues. His delivery is fluid and his arm path is relatively clean. Williamson is a Texas Christian signee, but he could be taken early enough on day two to convince him to forgo another year of college ball.
2. Robert Neustrom, OF, Iowa (BA Rank: 189)
4YR • Jr. • 6-3 • 208 • L-L • Never Drafted
Neustrom puts on quite a show in batting practice, when he displays plus-plus raw power. But in games, he’s just as comfortable poking a ball to right field with a contact-oriented approach. That combination of contact ability and power potential makes him an interesting mid-day two pick. As of mid-May, he was hitting .323/.390/.566 with nearly as many walks (22) as strikeouts (30). Neustrom has to hit, as he is a fringe-average defensive left fielder. Neustrom runs well once under way, showing average speed going from first to third, but he’s slower out of the batter’s box.
3. Korry Howell, SS, Kirkwood (Iowa) JC (BA Rank: 385)
JC • So. • 6-2 • 180 • R-R • Iowa
Howell, an Iowa signee, is a projectable junior college shortstop with excellent athleticism. He’s a plus-plus runner who swiped 39 bases in 48 tries this season to go with his .397/.476/.565 slash line. Physically, Howell needs to fill out and get stronger. His high average aside, there are still worries that he doesn’t have much bat speed or strength in his swing right now. His arm is also below-average, although there’s some hope that he could improve that as he matures. His range is more than enough for shortstop and his hands work well, but if he’s drafted right now, it will be by a team willing to be patient while he matures. His speed would also play well in center field if his arm doesn’t improve.
4. Brady Schanuel, RHP, Iowa (BA Rank: 408)
4YR • Jr. • 6-3 • 210 • R-R • Phillies '17 (20)
A 36th-round pick of the Athletics out of high school and a 20th-round pick of the Phillies in 2016 out of Parkland (Ill.) JC, Schanuel dominated in the early going this year, but fell apart as the season wore on. Schanuel has solid stuff, but he’s struggled to throw enough strikes for it to matter. He showed 94-95 mph velocity in the fall, but settled in at 88-93 mph this spring. He doesn’t bounce the ball to the plate or throw it to the backstop, but he has issues finding the strike zone—he allowed 43 walks in 51 innings this year, which explains his 5-7, 5.94 record. Schanuel’s secondary pitches are interesting—he has a fringe-average changeup with solid deception and a promising if inconsistent slider. At his best, Schanuel is dominating—he struck out 11 in seven one-hit scoreless innings against Indiana this year. It was one of three times he pitched five or more innings with only one hit allowed. But he also had a string of disastrous outings in April and May.
5. Nick Allgeyer, LHP, Iowa (BA Rank: 457)
4YR • RS-Jr. • 6-3 • 225 • L-L • Never Drafted
Allgeyer has been Mr. Reliable for Iowa. After being pulled after five innings in his first start of the season, he worked six or more innings in each of his last 14 starts, allowing more than three earned runs only once over that span. There’s nothing exceptional about Allgeyer’s stuff—he’s 88-92 mph with a big-breaking slider and even bigger and slower curveball. To top it off he has a potentially average changeup. What helps Allgeyer’s stuff play up is his above-average control and ability to mess with hitters’ timing by varying his speed to the plate.
6. Tyler Cropley, C, Iowa (BA Rank: 472)
4YR • Sr. • 5-11 • 185 • R-R • Never Drafted
A standout at Iowa Western JC, Cropley has been equally productive in two years as Iowa’s catcher. Cropley will be one of the better senior signs in this draft class as a catcher who can receive and has a track record of hitting as well. Cropley hit .342/.449/.578 for Iowa this season with more walks (30) than strikeouts (28). Scouts are equally enamored with his ability to receive and run a team from behind the plate. He has an above-average arm. Cropley is deserving of being drafted on talent, but the fact that he will be a money saver as well makes him an enticing day two pick.
7. Levi Usher, OF, Prairie HS, Cedar Rapids, Iowa (BA Rank: )
HS • 6-1 • 195 • L-R • Kirkwood (Iowa) JC
Usher was expected to be one of the best high school prospects in the state this year, but he broke his femur during football season. His speed was one of his best tools, so he has to show he can keep it post-injury.
8. Keaton Winn, RHP, Iowa Western JC (BA Rank: )
JC • So.
Winn is a Mississippi State signee who needs refinement, but he has a low-90s fastball and a promising slider. He went 4-1, 1.89 with 5 saves and a 55-6 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 33.1 innings as the Reivers closer.
9. Sean Chandler, RHP, Iowa Western JC (BA Rank: )
Chandler, a kick back from Nebraska, has plenty of arm strength, he's pitched at 90-94 mph with a loose, fast arm. He went 11-0, 1.34 with 123 strikeouts in 74 innings this year.
10. Indigo Diaz, RHP, Iowa Western (BA Rank: )
JC • So.
Diaz is a Michigan State signee who has enough fastball (88-92 mph) but needs to refine his secondary offerings. He dominated this year, going 11-0, 1.47 with 96 strikeouts in 67 innings.
11. Zach Daniels, RHP, Iowa (BA Rank: )
4YR • Jr. • 5-11
An undersized (5-foot-11, 160 pounds) closer, Daniels has some athleticism and can run his fastball up to 90-92 mph with some run and sink.
12. Kobe Hyland, SS, Iowa Western JC (BA Rank: )
JC • So. • 6-0 • 195 • L-R •
13. Nic McCay, RHP, Carlisle (Iowa) HS (BA Rank: )
HS • 6-2 • 180 • L-R • South Dakota State
McCay has been seen by everyone and got notice when he struck out Jared Kelenic. He sits 88-91 mph with a promising changeup.
14. Connor Van Scoyoc, RHP, Jefferson HS, Cedar Rapids, Iowa (BA Rank: )
HS • 6-4 • 200 • R-R • Arizona State
Van Scoyoc, the younger brother of Arizona State's Spencer Van Scoyoc, is likely to follow his brother to school. He's projectable with a present 88-92 mph fastball and a slider that needs to get harder but shows some promise.
15. Tyler Lewis, RHP, Valley HS, West Des Moines, Iowa (BA Rank: )
HS • Indian Hills (Iowa) JC
16. Tyler Reichenborn, OF, Iowa Western JC (BA Rank: )
JC • So. • 5-11 • 195 • R-R • Never Drafted