McDonald selected by Houston Astros in 15th round of MLB Draft

Cole McDonald kicked off the MLB Draft for the Hawkeyes on Wednesday.

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McDonald selected by Houston Astros in 15th round of MLB Draft

Cole McDonald pitches during Iowa men’s baseball vs. Ohio State at Banks Field on April 8, 2018. The Hawkeyes won the game 2-1. (Megan Nagorzanski/The Daily Iowan)

Cole McDonald pitches during Iowa men’s baseball vs. Ohio State at Banks Field on April 8, 2018. The Hawkeyes won the game 2-1. (Megan Nagorzanski/The Daily Iowan)

The Daily Iowan; Photos by Megan

Cole McDonald pitches during Iowa men’s baseball vs. Ohio State at Banks Field on April 8, 2018. The Hawkeyes won the game 2-1. (Megan Nagorzanski/The Daily Iowan)

The Daily Iowan; Photos by Megan

The Daily Iowan; Photos by Megan

Cole McDonald pitches during Iowa men’s baseball vs. Ohio State at Banks Field on April 8, 2018. The Hawkeyes won the game 2-1. (Megan Nagorzanski/The Daily Iowan)

Pete Ruden, Sports Editor

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Iowa senior pitcher Cole McDonald will be trading in his Iowa baseball hat for a Houston Astros one. The Astros made McDonald the first Hawkeye selected in the 2019 MLB Draft by taking him in the 15th round with the 466th overall pick.

McDonald posted a 6-3 record with a 3.54 ERA in 15 starts in 2019. After taking over the Friday starter role, McDonald struck out 83 batters in 89 innings, both of which ranked top 15 in the Big Ten.

McDonald concluded his Hawkeye career on a high note in the Big Ten Tournament. The New Hampton, Iowa, native tossed eight strong innings, allowing only 1 run on 5 hits while punching out nine in a 4-2 win over No. 1 seed Indiana.

He also recorded another solid outing against the Hoosiers on March 22, giving up 2 runs on 6 hits while fanning 11 in seven innings.

McDonald, who will join former Hawkeye Jake Adams in the Houston organization, became the 10th pitcher to be picked in the Rick Heller era. He is also the third Friday starter in a row to be selected in the first 16 rounds, along with Nick Gallagher (16th, Cleveland Indians) and Nick Allgeyer (12th, Toronto Blue Jays).

McDonald also posted solid numbers as a starter in 2018. He finished the season with a 3-2 record and a 3.23 ERA, striking out 52 in 55.2 innings of work.

The departure of McDonald will clear the way for another Friday starter who hopes to follow in his footsteps. With McDonald gone, Grant Judkins and Jack Dreyer emerge as the immediate favorites to take over the Friday role.

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