The 40 round marathon that is the MLB Draft ended earlier today with five current Beavers and two potential future Beavers hearing their names called, and one unexpected Beaver heading to the minor leagues as an undrafted free agent.
Who was drafted?
Drew Rasmussen- 1st round, Tampa Bay Rays
Tampa Bay was obviously not too concerned with Drew’s injury history, spending the 31st overall pick on the right hander out of Spokane. For Drew it represents a rather large payday, as the approximate value of the 31st pick according to mlb.com is signing bonus of over 2 million. Rasmussen will likely work slowly through a pitching progression this season in either the low minors or the Rays rookie ball team, as he still recovers from Tommy-John surgery. While Tampa has not had as much success as of late, they have been known to develop some very good young pitchers throughout the years and will likely a Rasmussen suiting up in Tropicana field in a few short years.
KJ Harrison- 3rd round, Milwaukee Brewers
The most interesting thing about the pick to me, is the fact that the Brewers will return KJ to catcher.
Harrison originally came to OSU as a backstop, but with an the Logan Ice already on the roster KJ was eventually moved to first to keep his bat in the lineup. While Harrison has seen a little time behind the dish the past few seasons, it will be an adjustment for the junior to return to the position full time. The Brewers could eventually move KJ back to first or potentially third or the outfield if the deem the fit not to be right behind the plate, as the rigors of catching, both mentally and physically, can often place such a high demand on a player that their production at the plate decreases. If KJ does stay behind the dish, it will most likely slow his timeline of cracking a big league roster, as much of his time in the minors will be focused on the defensive mechanics of the catching position. All that being said, I believe soon enough the great Bob Uecker will be calling his name on Brewer broadcasts, whether at catcher or another position on the diamond.
Jake Thompson- 4th round, Boston Red Sox
To me, Thompson is the best success story of the year for Oregon State. The Oregon native struggled mightily in his first 3 seasons in Corvallis, battling injury, inconsistency and confidence issues, and being removed from the rotation in 2016. The redshirt junior, who skated to start the year in a 4th starter/bullpen role finally put all the potential and tools together and led the nation with a spectacular 14-0 record while making numerous all-american lists. The Red Sox will likely look to keep Thompson as a starter, but could decided that the best way to utilize the hard throwing righty is out of the bullpen. Whatever ends up happening for Thompson, he will always be a success story that can make Beaver Nation proud.
Kevin Watson Jr.- 18th round, Arizona Diamondbacks
The athletic center fielder out of Beaverton high school was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 18th round. While I have not seen anything to indicate which way Watson is leaning, I would imagine it may be tough to pass up the opportunity to potentially begin his minor league career in Hillsboro, and head to Corvallis where he will face very stiff competition for playing time from a veteran Beaver outfield. Watson will have a few weeks to decide whether or not to turn pro, or head to Corvallis for the next 3-4 years.
Kevin Abel- 35th round, San Diego Padres
The top recruit in Oregon State’s class has already announced via twitter that he will not be signing with his home town San Diego Padres and will be heading to Corvallis in the fall.
The right handed pitcher was ranked as high a 191st in the draft, but his desire to play for Oregon State led to many teams passing on him before the Padres took a flyer in the 35th round. Expect Abel to compete for a spot in the Beavers starting rotation as early as next season.
Michael Gretler- 39th round, Pittsburgh Pirates
Te junior third baseman was picked in 39th round for the second time in his life, and will have a decision to make after he returns from Omaha. Gretler, who can also play first base and catcher, may not get the accolades of some other OSU players, but his sound defense at third and recent hit play at the plate has helped OSU to a historic season. While I have no real insight to what his decision may be, I would guess that he will return for his senior season and improve his draft stock.
Max Engelbrekt- 40th round, Washington Nationals
The senior reliever waited about as long as anyone could before hearing his name called with 3 picks left in the draft. Many, including OSU pitching coach Nate Yeskie joked that his sole at bat in his career must have intrigued the Nationals, who play in the National League without the benefit of a designated hitter.
This has to be a result of his physical AB earlier this season! No reason for an American League team to waste that kind of talent. #GoBeavs— Nate Yeskie (@OSUCoachYeskie) June 14, 2017
While it may be a struggle for a 40th round pick to make the big leagues, Engelbrekt will always have his recently earned MBA to fall back on.
Wait... What? The football player? Yep. It appears that the OSU WR will forgo his senior football season and sign an undrafted free agent contract with the San Diego Padres.
Jarmon played 4 games with the OSU baseball team in 2014, going 0-3 while playing in the outfield.
All in all, it was a pretty good year for Beavers in the draft. The selection of Rasmussen marked the 4th straight season that OSU had someone selected in the first two rounds (Conforto-2014, Moore-2015, Ice-2016) and with the likes of Nick Madrigal and Cadyn Grenier on the roster, I think its safe to say that streak will reach at least 5 come 2018.