Brecht weighs his options

Ankeny star, a Hawkeye football commit and big-league baseball prospect, pitching Wednesday in FD

Photo by Drue Wolfe Photography: Brody Brecht of Ankeny pitches at dusk last week against Southeast Polk.

The pressure will be on Brody Brecht soon enough.

For now, Ankeny’s senior star is having fun with his teammates as they pursue a high school state baseball championship to try and match their football trophy from the fall.

The 18-year-old Brecht helped secure the 2020 title on the gridiron, which is his first love. At 6-feet, 5-inches tall and 210 pounds, the first team all-state receiver has plans to play for the University of Iowa. Conventional wisdom agrees, and even Brecht himself is ready to fully commit to football moving forward.

The only thing standing in Brecht’s way is that whippy right arm of his.

With a fastball consistently sitting in the mid-90 mile per hour range and topping out at 98, Brecht has understandably piqued the interest of Major League franchises from all over — especially given how relatively raw he still is as a pitcher. It isn’t uncommon to see a throng of scouts at Ankeny games this summer whenever Brecht takes the mound.

The next stop comes on Wednesday, when Brecht confirmed he will take the mound against Fort Dodge at McNeil Field in the nightcap of a CIML Iowa Conference doubleheader.

The MLB Pipeline publication has Brecht as a Top 100 prospect for next month’s first-year player draft. The bonus for an opening-round selection runs from $2 million on up. Even second-rounders are looking at seven-figure payouts.

A third-round choice — around where Brecht’s name starts to potentially surface — typically receives around a three-quarters of a million dollars to sign on the dotted line, though that number may be more depending on the circumstances. West Des Moines Dowling’s Carter Baumler, for instance, was picked in the fifth round by the Baltimore Orioles in 2020, and signed for an above-slot $1.5 million to join the franchise rather than attending Texas Christian University.

Brecht could, ultimately, be looking at even more.

Brecht’s advisor is Sam Samardzija. If the name sounds familiar, it should: Sam’s brother, Jeff, played college football at Notre Dame before becoming a 13-year Major League Baseball pitcher.

Knowing this, I’m sure the Brecht family has an idea of what number could potentially push Brody toward professional baseball. But for now, Brecht is perfectly comfortable mowing down CIML hitters at a dizzying rate with his intense heat and buckling breaking stuff.

Brecht has started in four games to date in 2021: 4-0 record, 1.20 earned run average, 23.1 innings pitched, 47 strikeouts, 12 hits allowed, .148 batting average against. He’s 13-3 in his three-year prep pitching career, with 100 innings pitched and 186 Ks. In the state quarterfinals last year at Principal Park, Brecht touched 97 MPH in a dazzling 6-inning, 16-strikeout performance.

As of today, Brecht is still Iowa’s to lose. Brecht does plan on joining Rick Heller’s Hawkeye baseball program as a walk-on in the spring of ’22, but football is the main attraction.

That could all change dramatically, though, next month if the price is right.

Stop out at McNeil Field on Wednesday if you get the chance. Dodger Stadium is a historic venue for the sport, with over 80 years of games on the ledger at the ivy-splashed brick complex.

With that being said, the old ballpark may have never hosted a prospect quite like Brody Brecht.

Eric Pratt is Sports Editor at The Messenger. Contact him via email at sports@messengernews.net, or on Twitter @MessengerSports


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