ST. PETERSBURG -- Tommy John surgery is in the rearview mirror for Drew Rasmussen, and the Rays see a lot of potential for the Oregon State right-hander.
The Rays opened Competitive Balance Round A of Monday's MLB Draft by selecting Rasmussen with the 31st overall pick.
:: 2017 MLB Draft coverage ::
"He is a power right-hander," said Rob Metzler, head of Rays amateur scouting. "Has a strong slot, he's able to create a good angle with it, he's got a strong arm, he's got a good slider and a promising changeup."
• Rays' No. 4 overall: Brendan McKay
• Rays' No. 40 overall:Michael Mercado
Rasmussen returned in April from Tommy John surgery he underwent in March 2016. He was a vital part of the pitching staff as a freshman in '15, when he threw a perfect game against Washington State. He was equally effective for the first part of '16 until injuring his right elbow.
Once Rasmussen returned, he showed some solid stuff, albeit in shorter stints.
Rasmussen understandably has been brought along slowly since returning, pitching first out of the bullpen and then starting, but only in shorter outings. The stuff all started to come back the more he threw. He has shown a fastball in the 92-96 mph range in his limited time back. He has good extension on his fastball, which induced swings and misses.
Rasmussen's secondary stuff has gotten better, even within specific outings, starting with limited feel of his slider and changeup, but touching average with both the further he went.
"Velocity's come back relatively quickly," Rasmussen said. "I know everyone's timetable is different. I think it came back relatively quickly. Now it's just the touch and feel stuff that we're working on. Some days command will be great, and I'll say, 'I've got it.' And other days it's a little more touch and feel and you have to make adjustments as you go. And that's really where we're at right now. Kind of tightening up the screws."
Rasmussen does have three effective pitches and a starter's delivery, not to mention some track record of success in that role.
In limited action this season, Rasmussen went 3-0 with an 0.83 ERA in six games (four starts).
When asked to describe himself as a pitcher, Rasmussen responded, "Competitive."
"That's ingrained in the head of every single guy who comes through this program," Rasmussen said. "Don't want to get beat. Tenacious, I'd say. I blow up the strike zone. I'm going to get after hitters. I'm going to make someone earn it."
The Rays used their first pick of the Draft (No. 4 overall) to select Brendan McKay, the Louisville first baseman/left-handed pitcher. They used their third pick of the day to select San Diego-area high school right-hander Michael Mercado with the 40th pick.
The Draft continues on Tuesday with Rounds 3-10. The MLB.com preview show begins at 12:30 p.m. ET, with exclusive coverage beginning at 1 p.m. ET.