Player Development


Iowa City has proven to be a place where student-athletes can showcase their talent against Big Ten foes and opponents across the nation. But Iowa City is also the perfect place to grow (mentally, physically, and as a student of the game) and improve. Of Iowa’s 21 recent MLB Draft picks, only two were previously drafted.

Physical Growth

At Iowa, student-athletes are able to become physically stronger and better with the help of strength and conditioning coach Zach Walrod. In the offseason and during the season, workout plans are put in place to maximize performance on the field and for the future.

Smart Baseball

Iowa baseball coaches, players, support staff, and managers are equipped with not only the best technology and equipment in the country, but with the some of the best knowledge on how to use data and science to become the best player possible.

Tech Inventory

A rundown of what technology the Iowa baseball program uses. Most of the technologies crossover with each, allowing for deeper analysis.

Blast Sensors

Analyzes individual’s swing.

Attaches to the knob of the bat to measure metrics specific that allow for evaluation of every swing. Blast Sensors are used every day at practice, allowing players to get direct feedback, which is a critical part of motor learning.


Real-time, on-screen evaluation.

Doppler radar used to quantify multiple aspects of the batted ball. Measures exit velocity, launch angle, direction, distance, and more. Results of each swing are displayed on a 65-inch screen next to the batting cage, which is important to motor learning.

Motus Sleeves

A pitcher’s best friend.

Inertial measurement unit worn in a compression sleeve by pitchers every day. It is able to quantify metrics related to stress and workload specific to throwing. Counting throws, estimating torque on the elbow, and measuring other metrics associated with arm velocity and position, the sleeve is a huge tool to develop throwing programs to increase velocity and improve fitness.


System to improve athletic training.

Uses a variety of technologies to monitor the neurophysiological, cardiophysiological, and metabolic readiness of the athlete. Measures the brain’s DC potential, heart rate variability and energy supply state to provide each player with a readiness score. The pitching coach, athletic trainer and strength coach use the information to make adjustments to each individual’s daily training plan based on the results of the assessment.

Rapsodo/Yakkertech Bullpen Units

Instant feedback for pitchers.

Radar and optical cameras to calculate several metrics — velocity, spin rate, spin direction, and more — related to a thrown pitch. Data is used by the data analyst team, coaching staff and player to determine the best way to improve pitch design for each pitcher.

Edgertronic Camera

High-speed pitch evaluation and design.

Professional grade high-speed camera that has a unique interface that allows for the user to control exposure, shutter speed, frame rate and ISO. Edgertronic camera collects video at 10,000 FPS (normal camera is 30-60 FPS)! During pitch design sessions, the Edgertronic camera allows the coaching staff and pitcher to see exactly how their fingers are manipulating the baseball and the effects on the spin characteristics of the baseball.

Yakkertech On-Field Unit

In-depth, in-game analysis.

Optical camera system installed permanently at Duane Banks Field that uses multiple high-speed optical cameras to provide metrics on both the incoming pitch as well as the outgoing batted ball. Data measured includes spin rate, spin direction, other metrics related to trajectory of pitch, exit velocity, launch angle, direction, and distance of batted ball. All data is compiled and exported into a data base to create post-game reports for the team and player.

Senaptec Sensory Station

Next level training.

Used for both vision evaluation and training of our hitters. Each hitter is evaluated on 10 separate visual and sensorimotor skills. These skills include visual clarity, contrast sensitivity, depth perception, near far quickness, perception span, multiple object tracking, reaction time, target capture, eye hand coordination and decision making. After the assessment is complete, a personalized training plan is created for each hitter. A significant amount of training is performed on the Sensory Station


The Iowa baseball program boasts one of the best — if not the best — manager program in the country. A manager staff of nearly 20 people, the managers are an integral part to team and individual success. Each manager owns a unique skill set — from data analytics, graphic design, you name it — that enables coaches and players to get the most out of each practice and game.

Cole McDonald's Growth

A small town kid turned MLB Draft pick.

"The coaching staff at Iowa is the best in the country when it comes to player development. Their ability to use technology and the information provided to effectively implement a player development plan, which creates consistent improvement, is what makes Iowa the gold standard in college baseball. If I was not a part of Iowa Baseball, I know I would not be the player I am today."

Cole McDonald -- Pitcher in the Houston Astros organization

In Cole McDonald’s last career start as a Hawkeye, he went a career-high eight innings with nine strikeouts to help Iowa to a victory over the number-one seed in the Big Ten Tournament.

It was the perfect ending to McDonald’s career. The New Hampton, Iowa, native bought into Iowa’s player development program since day one and it paid off each and every day after that.

Not only did McDonald fulfill his lifelong dream of pitching for the Hawkeyes in Black & Gold, he reached new heights. He tallied 203 strikeouts, the fifth-most in school history, and tossed a no-hitter overseas, among many other unforgettable moments.


"At Iowa, the coaches don't use technology as a recruiting tool, but actually teach you how to understand the information provided, which helps speed up each player's development process. If you are a current high school player looking to join a program -- where Coach Heller and the rest of the coaching staff are at the forefront of player development in college baseball -- then Iowa is where you should be."

Cole McDonald

Robert Neustrom

A walk-on turned power-hitting pro.

An elite, three-sport high school athlete at Sioux City North, Robert Neustrom joined the Iowa baseball program as a preferred walk-on 2016.

Three years later, Neustrom made the jump to the pros after putting together a decorated career in the Black & Gold. He started the final 116 games of his career, hit a career .310, improved his home run total each year, and left Iowa as the highest position player drafted since 1992.

The 2018 fifth-round MLB Draft pick by the Baltimore Orioles and two-time All-Big Ten selection used his time in Iowa City to prepare for the next level.

"Coming in as a walk-on, the Iowa baseball program gave me every opportunity to show my talent. I always believed all I needed was an opportunity to show my worth on the field, and the coaching staff gave me that. Through consistent efforts to make me better on the field and constantly instilling the belief in me that I can one day make it to the highest level, I was able to put myself in the position to be drafted in the fifth round of the MLB Draft."

Robert Neustrom