Iowa City native Nick Gallagher is officially the third Hawkeye taken in the 2017 MLB Draft, as he was selected in the 16th round by the Cleveland Indians. The right-hander announced that he will forego his senior season at The University of Iowa and will turn pro.
In his junior campaign, Gallagher was lights out as Iowa’s Friday starter, going 8-2 with a 3.48 ERA over 15 starts and one relief appearance. The workhorse of Iowa’s rotation, Gallagher threw 95.2 innings and struck out 87 while only walking 25 batters this past season. With a thin pitching staff this season, the righty consistently took the mound and delivered strong performances for a team that wouldn’t have been an NCAA qualifier without him.
All-in-all, being drafted following a strong junior year is pretty impressive, particularly for a guy who didn’t think he would be playing collegiate baseball. He’ll end his career as a Hawkeye with a 16-5 record and 3.01 ERA, along with 163 strikeouts. Iowa has now had a pitcher drafted in every MLB Draft since 2006.
Looking ahead to next season for the Hawkeyes, pitching depth is going to be bleak. The Hawkeyes will now be without Gallagher and Ryan Erickson, who is out of eligibility, next season. This summer and beyond, the team will have to focus intently on finding replacements for two of the three starters they used this season. As it stands right now, CJ Eldred is the only pitcher on the team who figures to seamlessly slide into a starter role next year. After that, Rick Heller has a lot of questions to figure out.