Iowa baseball adds right-handed pitcher Anthony Watts from Creighton

With three years of eligibility remaining, Watts is eager to represent his home state in 2023.


Madyson Gomez

Iowa players prepare for sprints during the Iowa men’s baseball media day at Duane Banks Baseball Stadium in Iowa City on February 8, 2023. With many new players on the field, head coach Rick Heller has his sights on Omaha.

Jake Olson, Sports Reporter

The Iowa baseball team added another transfer to their roster this offseason — right-handed pitcher Anthony Watts from Creighton University.

On June 22, Watts posted on his Twitter that he would commit to head coach Rick Heller’s Hawkeyes to complete his final three years of eligibility:

The Clive, Iowa, product joins two other portal pickups: left-handed pitcher Brent Hogue from Oklahoma State University and right-handed pitcher Reece Beuter from Dallas Baptist University.

Before continuing his career on the diamond at Creighton, Watts played for Waukee Northwest High School.

While playing for the Wolves his senior season, Watts managed a 9-1 record with a 1.20 ERA. He held hitters to a .167 batting average and struck out 121 men at the plate in 62 innings pitched.

He was named Iowa Pitcher of the Year and rated the number three right-handed pitcher in the state according to Perfect Game.

Watts didn’t have a lot of attention coming out of high school and called himself a “late bloomer.” When he arrived in Omaha, he slotted himself right into a weekend starting role.

Watts had a 2-3 record and a 5.15 ERA with the Bluejays. In 43 and two-thirds innings pitched, Watts recorded 23 strikeouts while holding opponents to a .265 batting average.

After his freshman season in Omaha, Watts officially entered his name into the transfer portal and immediately earned attention from highly successful programs. Besides Iowa, Baylor, TCU, and Washington State showed interest in Watts.

But Iowa was the only school Watts visited, and before lining up any visits with other schools, Watts made his commitment to the Hawkeyes.

“[College] was a lot different than high school because I started off in high school as a late bloomer, so I didn’t have a lot of attention,” Watts told The Daily Iowan. “I was anticipating a couple of calls just because I thought I got a little better from high school. The Hawkeyes were one of the calls I was hoping to get early.”

In high school, Watts knew he always wanted to represent the state of Iowa and play for the Hawkeyes. So, when he was given a chance to be recruited again, the decision to play for Iowa was easy.

“Even in high school, it was something I always wanted to do — play for the Hawkeyes and represent the state,” Watts said. “I feel like playing for your home state is different. You take a little more pride in what you are doing and how you represent yourself on the field.”

Watts is looking to slide himself into a weekend rotation spot in the 2024 season but remains open to anything that the pitching staff needs him to do for the team.

“I’m pretty open to anything,” Watts said. “I know that a Sunday role could be open, but at the same time, talking to coaches there are a lot of innings in the bullpen too. Somebody needs to step up and take those innings too.”