The Brewers believe they drafted a first-round talent in the sixth round when they selected righthander Drew Rasmussen in 2018.
The Rays drafted Rasmussen out of Oregon State in the supplemental first round in 2017, but a physical indicated the Tommy John surgery performed on his elbow in March had come undone, for lack of a better term. He had a second Tommy John procedure and sat out his entire senior season with the Beavers.
The Brewers decided it was worth the risk to draft Rasmussen after performing a detailed examination of his medical records, led by medical director Roger Caplinger and team surgeon William Raasch. The club knew he would not take the mound until 2019.
“Our area scout, Shawn Whalen, and (supervisor) Corey Rodriguez stayed in touch with (Rasmussen) before the draft and still liked him a lot,” scouting director Tod Johnson said.
“Rasmussen’s representative was forthcoming with his medical information. We had the information we needed to make our decisions. We saw the reports from the second surgery and felt he would be able to return to pitching.”
Rasmussen signed for $135,000 and reported to instructional league to throw bullpens, but it wasn’t until he faced hitters this spring that the Brewers knew for sure they were on to something.
Rasmussen touched 100 mph in one live BP session, creating great excitement in minor league camp.
Rasmussen’s pro debut was specifically orchestrated to take place at Miller Park on April 12, where low Class A Wisconsin was playing a Midwest League game in the Brewers’ home park. He pitched two shutout innings and immediately was promoted to high Class A Carolina, where he pitched three shutout innings with six strikeouts in his first outing.
“He was extremely diligent with his rehab, really worked hard,” Johnson said. “He threw in the mid-to-high 90s before his surgeries, with a good slider, so his stuff was not a surprise.
“We consider him a first-round talent. We were looking at him in that (late-round) range the year before. We were happy to get him where we did.”
— Shortstop Mauricio Dubon, who missed most of 2018 with a torn ACL in his knee, celebrated his return to action with walk-off, game-winning hits in the bottom of the ninth inning of the first two home games for the Brewers’ new Triple-A San Antonio affiliate.
— Shortstop Brice Turang, the 2018 first-round pick, was assigned to low Class A Wisconsin, a sign of his readiness to play a full season at age 19.