Three questions facing Iowa baseball this offseason

The Hawkeyes are only losing two players because of eligibility, but other key players could leave the program and test their luck in the MLB Draft.


Cody Blissett

Iowa’s pitcher Brody Brecht pitches during a baseball game at Duane Banks Field in Iowa City on Friday, April 21, 2023. Brecht had seven strikeouts. The Hawkeyes defeated the Cornhuskers, 11-6.

Jake Olson, Sports Reporter

While the College World Series is starting to heat up in Omaha, it is officially the off-season for Iowa baseball.

After one of the best years in program history, tying the 1981 squad for most single-season wins with 44, the Hawkeyes have the potential to have a similar season in 2024.

But for head coach Rick Heller’s squad to have similar success, there are some questions that need to be answered this offseason.

Who will Iowa lose?

 The Hawkeyes are only losing two players because of eligibility — relief pitcher Jared Simpson and first baseman Brennen Dorighi.

While that may not seem like a lot, Iowa has a handful of key players that could leave the program and test their luck in the MLB Draft.

The obvious player that comes to mind is designated hitter Keaton Anthony. Because of the gambling investigation going on at both the UI and Iowa State, Anthony didn’t play the final 17 games of the season for the Hawkeyes.

Nonetheless, the redshirt sophomore led the team in batting average, doubles, slugging, and on-base percentage. His decision will drastically impact the teams’ success in the future.

Right-handed pitcher Ty Langenberg also has a big decision to make. The junior from Urbandale, Iowa, is eligible for the draft and has shown that he has what it takes to be picked up by an MLB organization.

After a slow start to the season, Langenberg moved to the back of the rotation behind Marcus Morgan and Brody Brecht and thrived in the Sunday role.

In his last nine starts, Langenberg had an earned run average of just over four while striking out 45 batters in 47 innings.

What transfers will impact the Hawkeyes in 2024?

 Iowa baseball has had a knack for utilizing the transfer portal in recent seasons.

Last year, the Hawkeyes picked up Dorighi from Wofford College, along with sophomores Jack Whitlock and Raider Tello from Hutchinson Community College and Pasadena City College, respectively. All three players were consistently in the starting lineup and were key pieces to this year’s success.

For the UI to see similar success in 2024, the Hawkeyes will have to continue their search in the transfer portal.

The Hawkeyes have already landed two transfers this offseason — left-handed pitcher Brent Hogue from Oklahoma State University and right-handed pitcher Reece Beuter from Dallas Baptist University.

Both pitchers have ties to Iowa. Hogue is a Sioux City native and graduated from Bishop Heelan Catholic High School. Beuter, on the other hand, is a Cedar Falls product and attended Dike-New Hartford High School.

While the Hawkeyes expect to bolster their lineup even further through transfers, adding two pitchers to the staff is a great start.

 How good can the starting rotation be?

A big reason for the Hawkeye’s success last season was the depth of the starting rotation.

Iowa had three solid arms in Morgan, Brecht, and Langenberg that filled the weekend rotation. The three combined for a 3.87 ERA while eating up over 220 innings.

While Morgan and Brecht are returning to Iowa next season, the potential leave of Langenberg leaves an opening for a third arm to step in.

Potential candidates for the final spot are freshman Cade Obermueller and redshirt sophomore Zach Voelker.

Obermueller finished the season with a 4.91 ERA in 22 innings pitched but showed flashes of potential, including four scoreless innings against Maryland on April 2.

Voelker ended his 2023 campaign with a 6.18 ERA with 43 and two-thirds innings pitched — but those numbers don’t tell the whole story.

Voelker had three consecutive appearances, allowing only one run in four-plus innings of work.

Both Obermueller and Voelker have the potential to go five-plus innings for the Hawkeyes.