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MLB Draft 2017: What the scouts are saying about RHPs Drew Rasmussen and Michael Mercado

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With their final two selections on Day 1 of the draft, the Rays took a pair of right-handed pitchers

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With the No. 31 pick in the draft, the Rays selected Oregon State righty Drew Rasmussen.

He was the 56th-ranked player on Baseball America’s pre-draft rankings. Because of his Tommy John surgery and limited number of innings, he’s a bit of a wild card. In relief, his fastball can reach the high-90s. In his career as a starter, though, he’s had success with an average slider and changeup.

MLB.com grades his fastball as a plus pitch with an average slider and below-average changeup. His stuff, and his control, could both get better as he gets more innings under his belt following his rehabilitation.

Keith Law ($) states his slider could be a plus pitch.

At FanGraphs, Eric Longenhagen gives Rasmussen a plus grade for his fastball, an above-average slider and below-average changeup and command.

Just 11 picks later, the Rays chose high-school righty Michael Mercado with the No. 41 pick. The 6-foot-5, 165-pound late-riser was ranked 48th by Baseball America. Despite his lanky frame, his fastball can reach the low-90s and usually sits in the 88-92 range. Additional strength could likely allow him to sit with average-or-better velocity.

BA also notes that he throws a high-80s two-seamer that can help get groundballs, which is generally expected from a pitcher of his size.

Scouting-wise, MLB.com put an above-average grade on his fastball and curveball, average grade on his changeup and a below-average grade on his slider. FanGraphs’ Longenhagen agrees with all of those grades on his board.

An interesting thing about Mercado is one way he breaks the tall, high-school pitcher stereotype. He throws strikes. While several reports note he needs mechanical refinement (like every other high-school arm), he’s generally able to throw strikes with all of his pitches.