Junior left-hander Rob Rasmussen was a second-round choice in the MLB draft.
Junior pitcher Rob Rasmussen was the first UCLA baseball player to be selected in this year's MLB draft, going 73rd overall to the Florida Marlins. He had been a 27th-round choice out of high school three years ago but opted for a college education. Fair to say his decision has paid off: the left-hander is 10-2 this season with an ERA of 2.90 while limiting hitters to a .220 batting average. He talked about the draft on Tuesday night.
What were the moments leading up to the draft like?
Rasmussen: I had taken a couple of calls from a number of teams, kind of talking about where they were looking at me. The funny thing is, I hadn't talked to the Marlins at all. They came up and got me at 73. I was a little shocked because I hadn't talked to them, but I was ecstatic for them to take me.
How much do you think you improved your stock this past season, as well as the last few summers at the Cape Cod League?
Rasmussen: I struggled a little bit my first two years here -- but in the summer and into this year, I really figured out a lot of things about pitching and pitching at this level. I've kind of just taken that and found confidence to go out there and pitch like I know I can. That's been the difference between last year and this year and why I got drafted this high.
Was your decision to come to college a hard one when you were drafted out of high school?
Rasmussen: It was a no-brainer. I came from a very academic high school in Pasadena Poly. I pretty much made it known to anyone who talked to me or was thinking about drafting me that I wanted to go to school. The Dodgers selected me in the 27th round, the scout at the time called me to tell me that he drafted me because he thought I deserved it, that I worked hard enough that year to hear my name get called. He knew he wasn't going to sign me. It wasn't a tough decision for me and it's honestly turned out a lot better than I could have hoped.
Does this affect how you approach your remaining games at UCLA at all?
Rasmussen: Yeah, but I mean, I've been savoring this whole season. It's been a really special season for our team and it's been a lot of fun. I've enjoyed it. I don't think anything is going to change. Maybe there's less pressure on me -- I don't know. I don't think I ever felt pressure with the draft, but any pressure that might have been underlying there is gone. Now it's about going out and doing the same thing I've been doing the whole year. Hopefully that's good enough to get us to where we want to get to.
Did you go out and get your Marlins cap yet?
Rasmussen: Yeah I did, I definitely did.