Current MLB Draft Is Historic For Waterloo Bucks
Cedar Rapids native A.J. Puk (Florida) was taken as the sixth overall pick by the Oakland Athletics. He played in just 11 games for the Bucks in 2014 as both a pitcher and infielder.
The lanky 6'7", 230-pound left-hander throws a fastball that averages 92 miles-per-hour and delivers a slider clocked in the low-to-mid 80s. It's those skills that had many baseball aficionados projecting Puk as the number one overall selection prior to the draft.
"All those tools are hard to find in a player," said former Bucks manager Travis Kiewiet (2012-14), who recruited Puk to play for Waterloo his final season with team. "He wasn't here very long, but when he showed up, you could tell he had all the tools and talent to definitely make it to the next level."
The Baltimore Orioles selected Cody Sedlock (Illinois) with the 27th overall pick. Now primarily an infielder, Sedlock mainly pitched for the Bucks as a freshman in 2014. He finished the summer with a 5-3 record and a 3.38 ERA.
"Cody was a bulldog; as good as advertised," said Kiewiet, a Dike resident. "When he took the mound, every time he gave you 100-percent. He wasn't going to come out unless you took him out. He was going to battle every single time.
"The year we had him, he took the reigns and drastically improved. He used (the opportunity) to springboard into what is now a first-round draft pick. Cody was a great character kid and he deserves everything he's going to get."
The third former Bucks player selected in the first round of the 2016 MLB Draft was Dane Dunning (Florida), who also spent the summer of 2014 with Waterloo. The right-handed pitcher compiled a 3-3 mark and a 3.14 ERA in seven appearances with the Bucks that season.
Prior to Thursday night, no former Bucks player had ever been taken in the first-round of any MLB Draft. The trio of first-round picks are the most for a single team in Northwoods League history.
"It shows you the caliber of players the Northwoods League gets," said Kiewiet, who also spent four years as an assistant coach with the Bucks before becoming the team's skipper. "From my first year in 2008 to my last year (in 2014), the talent just kept getting better and better. It was nice to be able to get that kind of talent in here with the demand of the game and the demand on the players.
"With three first-round players just from the Waterloo Bucks, kudos to the league and the organization."
The 2016 MLB Draft continues for three days, concluding on Saturday (June 11).