Steve Ascher: A Rare Well-Rounded 17th Round Pitcher
Once you start progressing into the middle to lower rounds of the MLB Draft, it gets harder and harder to find well-rounded players. Most players at this point either have a standout skill, but lack in other areas, or are projectable with little to show for it so far. But in the 17th round, the Tampa Bay Rays managed to find a pitch with some polish in Steve Ascher.
Ascher is never going to dominate with stuff, but he features a solid 4 pitch arsenal. He will come at hitters with a 4-seam fastball, and compliments it well with a slider, a slow curve, and a changeup. The changeup is the best of the three, and there is a chance he will ditch the slider as a pro. His overall stuff plays up thanks to nice pitchability. Also, his solid command makes his stuff better. In three seasons at Division III SUNY Oneonta, he has walked just 2.7 batters per nine innings. His career there likely culminated with a big junior year this season in which he put up a 1.82 ERA, 2.6 BB/9, and 10.7 K/9 in 69.1 innings. Overall he has showed nice ability and has improved in each year in college. The strikeout numbers are not going to hold up as a pro. However, command and control will play at any level against any competition. If the Rays can develop his stuff to the point that it is average across the board, Steve Ascher could turn out to be a surprisingly nice value from the 17th round.