Long Island product Steve Ascher, a left-hander who had a standout junior season for Oneonta State, was selected in the 17th round of the Major League Baseball draft Saturday by the Tampa Bay Rays.
Ascher, the SUNY Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Year in 2014, was the 517th overall pick.
Born in Cutchogue, Ascher led the Red Dragons in ERA (1.69), innings (69 1/3), strikeouts (82) and held opposing batters to a .193 average this spring.
Last year, the Los Angeles Dodgers picked Greg Harris in the 17th round and gave him a $175,000 signing bonus.
Ascher signed his contract Monday and will play for the Princeton (Va.) Rays of the Rookie League.
“I couldn’t be happier for Steve,” O-State coach Ben Grimm said in a media release sent by the school. “To see how far he’s come since his freshman year has been something special. He took a real leap in the last year, which is a testament to his work ethic.”
Ascher received a call from his advisor Friday telling him the Rays and the Kansas City Royals were thinking of drafting him early Saturday, which was rounds 11 through 40. Ascher has been playing for the Cotuit Kettlers of the Cape Cod Baseball League.
“I left the hotel early in the morning and went back to my host family’s house to get ready for my doubleheader,” Ascher wrote in an email to O-State’s sports information department. “Just as I was leaving to go to the field, I received a call from the Royals asking me if I was still signable and asking what I wanted.
“During the second inning of game 1 I got the same call from the New York Mets and actually thought that’s where I was going to be headed. A few minutes later I received two text messages congratulating me. I figured I should check the draft board and that’s when I saw I had been selected by the Rays.”