Ranked the 69th best prospect by Baseball America prior to the draft, the Chicago White Sox selected Blake Hickman with the 202nd pick in the 7th round, making him the highest Hawkeye selection since 1999.
Hickman, a junior, now must decide whether to return to Iowa City for his senior year or enter professional baseball immediately. The slot value for Hickman's draft position is $213,400 and he has until July 17th to either sign and report to rookie ball in Great Falls, Montana or announce his return for his senior year.
This is the second time Hickman has been drafted in his young career. Following his senior season at Simeon Academy in Chicago, he was selected by the Chicago Cubs in the 20th round before opting for college baseball. A converted catcher, Hickman didn't see time on the mound until his sophomore season before this year's breakout campaign that saw him become Iowa's first all-American since 1999. Hickman went 9-2 for Iowa in 2015, with a 2.99 ERA in 84.1 innings pitched. He had 52 strikeouts and held opposing batters to a .215 average, best among Iowa's regular starters.
He is the the highest Hawkeye drafted since the Royals drafted P Wes Obermueller in the 2nd round (58th overall) in the 1999 draft. Hickman's selection does continue an uptick in Iowa's draft fortunes, though -- SS Jake Yacinich was taken by the Angels in the 8th round (239th overall) last season.
Given the lack of leverage college seniors have in the draft, Hickman's return to the Black and Gold for next season remains up in the air. We'll keep you updated on Hawkeyes in the draft as we move along. In the meantime, congrats to Blake Hickman!
EDIT: I think we have answer (per Hickman himself) about his future plans. It looks like he's taking his talents to the South Side... er, Great Falls:
THANK YOU @whitesox never been so excited to get started. Thank you for giving me this opportunity!!— Blake Hickman (@BlakeHickman18) June 9, 2015