Former Cedar Rapids Prep Could Be First Overall Pick In Baseball Draft
The 2015 Major League Baseball Draft ended a week ago today but as the experts look ahead to next year, they believe a former Cedar Rapids Washington graduate could be the top choice next spring.
A.J. Puk graduated two years ago and had his heart set on the college experience and continuing his baseball career in Gainesville, Florida with the Florida Gators. Now, his squad is in the Final 8 of this year's College World Series. A.J. lost a 1-0 decision to Virginia earlier this week and his squad faces elimination as they take on Miami of Florida tonight at 7 (Iowa time). A.J. is not expected to pitch after throwing 5 1/3 innings on Monday.
Knowing they weren't going to be able to talk him out of a college career, teams were in no rush to draft him in 2013 (he went in the 35th round to the Detroit Tigers). That will change in 2016. A.J. is no doubt not looking to next year yet, but the experts are. Puk is a 6-foot-7 inch left-hander who throws in the mid-90's. Those are few and far between, to say the least. The national writer for 'Baseball America,' Teddy Cahill says, "If he went first overall, right now, I would not be the least surprised." 'Sports Illustrated' has also suggested he'll be the first overall pick and the senior writer for MLB.com, Jim Callis, wouldn't be surprised by that either.
For now, A.J. is focused on winning the College World Series and a summer tour with the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team. He hears the talk though commenting, "I guess it's pretty cool, but it's still a long ways away."
If his career follows its current trajectory, it will be a fun year for all of us in eastern Iowa to watch.
[via Des Moines Register]