In the eighth round of the 2018 MLB Amateur Draft, the Washington Nationals used the 251st overall pick to make all-Big Ten catcher Tyler Cropley the second Hawkeye selected on Day 2.
Tyler Cropley was a two-year starter at the University of Iowa after transferring from Iowa Western Community College, where he was a two-time All-Region XI player. In 2017, Cropley got off to a slow start at the plate, but was able to get red hot during conference play to end the season with a .268/.371/.459 slash line, accumulating nine home runs and 36 RBI. This year, despite playing in eight fewer contests, the senior catcher was able to surpass all those numbers, hitting .342/.449/.578 with 20 doubles, nine homers, and 50 RBI on his way to first-team all-Big Ten honors at catcher.
Just as important to the team as his prowess at the plate was his ability to catch the pitching staff - he helped catch a relatively inexperienced staff in 2017 on their way to an NCAA Regionals appearance, with two starters being drafted following breakout seasons, and then did the same in 2018, helping to break in three new weekend starters and a bunch of fresh faces during midweek contests.
Cropley is the 17th Hawkeye to be drafted since Rick Heller took over the program prior to the 2014 season, and being the second player to be taken in rounds one to nine, is the sixth such player under Heller. An interesting pull from Dargan Southard shows that from 1994-2013, the Hawkeyes had only one such player, which is wild. Heller’s turned this program around in a hurry and Cropley is just another example of the talent the program is developing.
A couple interesting tidbits from Twitter:
Tyler Cropley is off the board. #Hawkeyes catcher goes No. 251 overall to the Nationals. Eighth round.@jimcallisMLB: "It wouldn't shock me if six, seven years from now, we look up and Tyler Cropley is maybe a backup in the big leagues."— Dargan Southard (@Dargan_Southard) June 5, 2018
Cropley is the first Iowa catcher to be drafted within the first eight rounds since Jim Sundberg went in the first round to the Rangers in 1973. https://t.co/LlTto5kIf5— Matt Benson (@mbenson6) June 5, 2018
Congrats, Tyler, and good luck pursuing a career in baseball!