Pella Community High alumnus Grant Judkins signed a free agent contract with the Oakland Athletics Monday night.
“It’s been a dream of mine since I was a young kid,” Judkins told the Tribune.
After going 10-1 in his senior season at Pella, with 123 strikeouts and a 0.64 earned run average, Judkins went on to pitch for the University of Iowa. As a Hawkeye, his career ERA is 3.72. In four games as a starter, during this shortened senior season, Judkins went 2-0 with a 3.0 ERA.
“Jud has worked so hard to earn this opportunity and I know it’s been something he’s been dreaming of since he was here in Pella,” Pella High Head Coach Jesse Jablonski said. “I couldn’t be more happy for him and his family to realize this dream, and I can’t wait to follow him in the next step of his career.”
The Major League Baseball draft was altered by COVID-19 as well. Rounds were dropped from 40 to 5. For two days after the five-round draft, players were eligible to sign contracts and Judkins was one of the players the A’s signed. Had he not signed, Judkins would have continued to attend the University of Iowa and spent one more season on the mound for the Hawkeyes.
Those plans have now obviously changed. Despite the decision to continue to pursue a Major League career, Judkins has already graduated from the U of I with a degree in Finance, with a minor in Sports and Recreation Management.
Judkins is still living in Iowa City. He has routinely continued to work out with teammates to bulk up and keep his pitching arm in shape. At the time of this post, he had not heard from the organization regarding when and where he needs to report to the A’s spring training facility. The entire Major League season is in doubt at this time, as owners and players cannot agree on terms for the reduced schedule.
Regardless of what happens with the remainder of this summer, Judkins says he will continue to work hard to improve to make it to Oakland. He wanted to thank everyone who helped him get to where he already is – including everyone in Pella, the University of Iowa, friends, family and one more above all.
“I want to thank God, too, for getting me where I am,” Judkins.
Judkins finished his Iowa career with eight wins and a 3.72 ERA over 42 appearances. He logged 164 1/3 innings where he had 149 strikeouts to 57 walks. Judkins was a member of the Hawkeyes starting rotation during his junior and senior seasons.
He was a two-time Big Ten Pitcher of the Week and a NCBWA and Collegiate Baseball National Pitcher of the Week during his career.