Grant Judkins discusses his quest to earn a weekend rotation spot Hawk Central
Between a 10-man 2020 senior class and a handful of other players who could've been selected in a normal MLB Draft, Iowa baseball was bound to lose someone as an undrafted free agent.
Grant Judkins is officially the first.
The Hawkeyes right-hander has signed an undrafted free agent contract with the Oakland Athletics, Iowa announced Tuesday morning. Even with eligibility relief giving Judkins his senior season back in 2021, the Pella native will begin his professional career whenever the minor league season resumes.
"Thankful for the opportunity to join the A’s organization," Judkins tweeted. "Thank you to the coaches and staff at the University of Iowa, my teammates, family, friends, and everyone else that have helped me along the way. I wouldn’t have this opportunity without you. I can’t wait to get started!"
Had coronavirus alterations not capped the 2020 draft at five rounds, Judkins likely would've added to Iowa's recent run of starting-pitcher selections. After a breakthrough 2019 season, Judkins was ready to begin his second campaign cemented in the Hawkeyes' weekend rotation.
Judkins went 2-0 with a 3.00 ERA in four 2020 starts. He had 24 strikeouts and just five walks over 21 innings, while allowing three or fewer runs in every outing. Judkins ends his Iowa tenure with eight wins and a 3.72 ERA over 42 appearances. He logged 164 1/3 innings with 149 strikeouts.
We'll see if Judkins is the first of a few Hawkeyes to ink UDFA deals. As for now, all seven of Iowa's remaining seniors are listed on the 2021 roster with Grant Leonard and Justin Jenkins having already moved on. Players can sign UDFA deals up until Aug. 1.
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.