As we head to the final quarter of the 2017 MLB Draft, the Hawkeyes were able to hang their hat on having a fourth player taken, with Ryan Erickson being taken by the Chicago White Sox in the 30th round.
Erickson spent three years with Iowa after transferring from Johnson County Community College and turned into an extremely valuable piece to the Iowa pitching staff. The left-hander pitched exclusively out of the bullpen for the Hawks in 2015, but ended his collegiate career as one of the best surprises on what was a strong 2017 ball club.
After starting the 2017 season out in the ‘pen, Erickson became a dependable Saturday starter and ended the year with a 4-3 record and 3.00 ERA. He made a name for himself, though, during the postseason, when he shut out #1 seed Nebraska over 7.2 innings in the Big Ten Tournament and battled against a tough Houston team in the Regionals, going five innings and giving up three runs (two earned).
Erickson, who turns 24 later this year, is a little older than most pitching prospects, which probably knocked him back a little in the draft. If assigned to the Kannapolis Intimidators (Low Single-A), where former Hawkeye Blake Hickman currently pitches after having Tommy John surgery, Erickson would be the fourth oldest pitcher on the team. One thing he has shown, though, is that he has very good control and is always around the strike zone, so he has the potential to move quickly through the low minors if he continues his good command.
This marks the third consecutive season that an Iowa pitcher was drafted by a team from Chicago. Last year, the Chicago Cubs took right-hander Tyler Peyton, and in 2015, the White Sox selected Hickman in the seventh round.