By Pete Ruden
After a stellar junior season in Rick Heller’s outfield, Hawkeye
Robert Neustrom was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the fifth
round (No. 145) of the 2018 MLB Draft, making him the highest Iowa
position player selected since Danan Hughes was taken in the third
round in 1992.
Dargan Southard of the Des Moines Register, Neustrom’s father
said the right fielder will forgo his senior season with the Hawkeyes
and sign with the Orioles.
Neustrom has been a critical part of Iowa’s success over the past
three seasons, consistently giving Iowa a threat at the plate. In his
time with the Hawkeyes, Neustrom never hit below .307 for a full
In 2018, Neustrom racked up another productive performance. The native
of Sioux City slashed .311/.386/.538 to accompany 11 home runs and 36
RBIs this past season, leading Iowa to the No. 6 seed in the Big Ten
Tournament. He turned that into a first-team All-Big Ten selection and
a 33-20 overall record for his squad.
Even before his junior year, Neustrom showed signs that he was ready
for pro ball. In the summer of 2017, Neustrom earned All-Star status
in the prestigious Cape Cod League. In his time with the Hyannis
Harbor Hawks, he hit .302 with 4 home runs and 18 RBIs.
Neustrom couples a smooth swing with solid speed and strong fielding
(.990 fielding percentage in 2018). His selection by Baltimore could
reunite him with former Iowa shortstop Mason McCoy, who was taken in
the sixth round by the Orioles in 2017.