Iowa baseball: Pittsburgh Pirates select Drew Irvine in 19th round of 2021 MLB Draft
Drew Irvine won't even need to change colors.
The Iowa right-hander was selected by the Pittsburgh Pirates Tuesday on the final day of the MLB Draft, going with the first pick of the 19th round (No. 553 overall). The former Waukee standout has two years of eligibility remaining — and could technically return to Iowa City if a deal doesn't work out — but a signing seems likely given where Irvine was picked.
Irvine got his first shot in the weekend rotation this season, sliding in as Iowa's primary Saturday starter. Irvine had a few flashes of brilliance mixed with some struggles, resulting in a 6.43 ERA with 49 strikeouts across 49 innings.
Irvine's 2021 workload nearly doubled what he had produced through one full season (2019) and 2020's COVID shortened campaign. Irvine had thrown just 27 2/3 career innings before stepping up significantly following Jack Dreyer's season-ending injury.
Irvine's best stretch came during the meat of Big Ten play. In four straight weekends against Maryland (March 27), Purdue (April 3), Minnesota (April 11) and Rutgers (April 17), Irvine surrendered just six earned runs over 25 innings. He went at least six frames in three of those starts, throwing up consecutive seven-inning, one-run outings against the Golden Gophers and Scarlet Knights.
The back half of Big Ten play didn't go as well, with Irvine yielding 19 earned runs over his last six appearances. Irvine's last outing of 2021 saw him surrender six hits and four runs over four innings at Michigan State on May 29.
This pick coupled with Trenton Wallace's selection gives Iowa multiple picks in every MLB Draft but two under Rick Heller (and one of those was the significantly truncated 2020 edition). Eight of the last 12 Hawkeyes drafted have been pitchers.
Dargan Southard covers Iowa and UNI athletics, recruiting and preps for the Des Moines Register, HawkCentral.com and the Iowa City Press-Citizen. Email him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter at @Dargan_Southard.