By Pete Ruden
Brady Schanuel has never played a regular season game in an Iowa uniform, but the Hawkeyes need him.
After Iowa lost most of its weekend starting rotation to MLB organizations during the offseason, the Parkland College (Illinois) transfer could contribute on the mound right away.
Luckily for Schanuel, he has some experience with his new team despite it being his first year in Hawkeye Land.
The Hawkeyes represented the United States in the World University Games in Taiwan over the summer, which gave Schanuel a chance to play with his new group.
Schanuel logged two starts in Taiwan, recording an ERA of 2.16. He closed the tournament with 10 strikeouts in 8.1 innings and a silver medal, while limiting opposing batters to a .156 average.
As well as giving him experience, the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity also allowed Schanuel to bond with his new teammates before the regular season picked up.
“For me, personally, it was a good way to meet the guys, and get close with the guys, and kind of build a bond over the summer,” Schanuel said. “As a team, I think it just helped us grow and get comfortable with each other on and off the field, and I think ultimately it will pay off in the spring.”
Although he has yet to take the mound for the Black and Gold, Schanuel has acquired some accolades.
The Swansea, Illinois, native was selected in the MLB Draft twice; the Oakland A’s took Schanuel in the 36th round in 2015, and the Philadelphia Phillies made him a 20th round draft pick in 2016.
Schanuel decided to take his talents to Iowa, however, where he was listed at No. 90 on D1Baseball.com’s top-100 college prospects for the 2018 MLB Draft. The same outlet also named him the third-best draft prospect in the Big Ten for the upcoming season.
Those achievements are proof that even though he’s new, Schanuel is still poised for a solid season, just like a chunk of the rest of the rotation.
“We do have a lot of new people and a great incoming class,” Friday starter Nick Allgeyer said. “We lost a lot last year with [Nick] Gallagher, C.J. [Eldred], [Ryan] Erickson, everyone that left, but we have a lot of new guys come in, and everyone’s working hard trying to get ready to go, and I think we’ll have a real nice staff this year.”
Schanuel has the capabilities to be successful, but he suffered a setback in January. Head coach Rick Heller said that while Schanuel is expected to be the Sunday starter, he injured his arm, which put him out for 10 days and now has him on a pitch count, so things will need to be sorted out.
Heller sees some questions in the pitching staff’s inexperience, but he is still confident in the skill the pitchers display.
“I like the depth of our pitching staff,” he said. “We’ve got inexperience on the front end with the starters … I feel good about the ability, but the three guys who’ll start for us on the weekend have never been out there as far as being those guys. I think they’ll handle it just fine, but that’s a question that has to be answered the first two or three weeks.”