The Hawkeyes already had three players (and a signee!) chosen in the MLB Amateur Draft, and they’ve added a fourth - Zach Daniels, an infielder turned dominant reliever, has been selected by the Atlanta Braves in the 19th round.
Daniels started 29 games as a freshman and played in 46, but wasn’t able to stick, as he hit just .167 and had a fielding percentage of .960. Luckily enough for him, he was able to convert full-time to a dominant reliever, often setting up closer Josh Martsching as a sophomore and then taking over the closer duties after Martsching graduated. Daniels went 14-6 in his career at Iowa with a 2.68 ERA, striking out 119 batters in 114 innings. He was particularly dominant as a senior, allowing batters to hit just .200 against him in 45.2 innings.
What’s probably most impressive about Daniels is that he’s able to get an incredible about of power behind his pitches despite being listed at 5’11”, 160 pounds and often using a low arm slot. The righty’s fastball sits in the low-to-mid 90s with movement and he complements that with a dominant slider. He certainly has a solid two-pitch mix, and with some more development, he should be able to get stronger and hone those abilities even more.
Will he be inclined to sign with Atlanta or stick around at Iowa for his senior season? He discussed this with Jeff Johnson of the Cedar Rapids Gazette earlier this week:
“Definitely depends on the circumstances,” he said. “I would say it depends on the organization, too. I am definitely open to signing if the circumstances are right. But I have a good option in coming back to school for another year, too.
Congratulations to Zach on being drafted, and good luck with your decision! Hawkeye fans will be out here rooting for you no matter what.
UPDATE: Daniels will forego his senior season and sign with Atlanta.