3. RHP Drew Rasmussen
Lately it seems like every season features a reliever who breaks out for the Brewers. Even before Williams last year you had your Josh Haders, your Jeremy Jeffresses and your Corey Knebels. Had 2020 been a full season, Drew Rasmussen may have already been added to that list.
Rasmussen made his major league debut on August 19th last season, pitching in the seventh and eighth innings in a win over the Twins. The hard-throwing righty gave up two hits and struck out three of the eight batters he faced in his two innings of work.
His next outing wasn’t as smooth as he gave up two earned over an inning and a third on three hits and a walk. After that, though, Rasmussen went a stretch of eight games giving up just a run on six hits and six walks while striking out 13 over 10 1/3 innings pitched.
Rasmussen had a couple more rough appearances to finish the season, resulting in a less-than-attractive final ERA and WHIP of 5.87 and 1.696, respectively. But there were more than enough stretches of dominance along the way.
Even before he got to the big leagues, some Brewers fans felt Drew Rasmussen had breakout written all over him.
Brewers prospect watchers were already familiar with Rasmussen before all that. Drafted in the 6th round in 2018 by Milwaukee after undergoing two Tommy John surgeries in college, his 70-grade fastball ranked as the best in the system and had fans excited for his eventual debut.
Rasmussen flew up the ranks in his 2019 minor league debut. Once ready to pitch, he started off in Low-A Wisconsin and finished the season in Double-A Biloxi, combining for a 3.39 ERA, 1.184 WHIP, and a 11.6 K/9 across all levels.
With a chance to win an Opening Day roster spot, Rasmussen has looked solid this spring. In 10 innings of work, the righty has put together a 3.60 ERA with just a 1.000 WHIP with 13 strikeouts to just five walks.
Rasmussen has a chance to be more than just solid, though. That fastball can touch 100 when he really rears back and he primarily pairs it with a high 80s slider that also grades out above average.
Considering their stuff, there was a good chance that Rasmussen and fellow hard-throwing reliever Justin Topa were going to both be in the mix for high-leverage opportunities ahead of Williams and Hader. After the news of Topa’s unfortunate injury, Rasmussen could garner a majority of those chances and parlay it into a true breakout season.
One day remains before the Brewers begin their quest toward another postseason berth. It’s when these three, not to mention others, will begin their quest toward breakout seasons as well.