Rotoprofessor’s Prospect Watch – Colby Rasmus
Written by Eric Stashin the Rotoprofessor
Colby Rasmus is a name that many people may have heard of, and that certainly inflates his value in fantasy formats, justified or not. Just because you know the name doesn’t mean that he is more or less valuable then other prospects. All it means is that he has name appeal, and in 2008 that’s all he brought to the table.
It was a lost season for someone who people thought may actually earn a full-time job with the Cardinals straight out of Spring Training. Instead, when he was actually on the field, he posted a modest line, at best, at Triple A:
.251 (83-331), 11 HR, 36 RBI, 56 R, 15 SB
Injuries played a huge role in derailing his season, including costing him a trip to the Olympics. A sprained knee was the culprit, causing a player who tore up Double A in 2007 a chance of making an impact at the major league level down the stretch. Remember, the Cardinals suffered from quite a few injuries in their outfield, including losing Rick Ankiel. They were also playing Skip Schumaker, and while he was decent enough (.302, 8 HR, 8 SB), he’s hardly the player Rasmus was on the verge of becoming.
Remember, at Double A in 2007 Rasmus was unbelievable, hitting .275 with 29 HR and 18 SB in just 472 AB. That had owners yearning for the next potential 20/20 superstar to burst onto the major league scene.
His detractors didn’t even have much to hang their hats on. His BABIP was a very reasonable .301. He struck out a not unreasonable 22.9% of the time while walking 12.9% of the time. He also had 37 doubles, so the idea that the power was a fluke was obviously not there.
Obviously, his name recognition is very much deserved, even with his failures in 2008. Consider it nothing more then a bump in the road for the player picked #28 back in the 2005 draft.
To give you an idea of how highly regarded he was prior to 2008:
- Baseball America pegged him as the fifth best prospect in all of baseball, ahead of Clayton Kershaw, David Price, Jacoby Ellsbury and a whole host of others
- Minor League Baseball had him as the seventh best prospect
To say that is impressive company is an understatement. He was slotted behind Jay Bruce, Evan Longoria, Joba Chamberlain and Clay Buchholz on both lists. MILB also put Kershaw and Cameron Maybin ahead of him. That’s some extremely elite company.
Could Rasmus break camp with the Cardinals this season, earning an everyday job? It is possible, but given his struggles and decision not to participate in winter ball, I find it unlikely. Instead, he’ll probably begin the year in Triple A, a chance to overcome his demons and prove that 2008 was an aberration.
That certainly could change if the Rick Ankiel trade rumors come to fruition. Obviously, a trade like that would necessitate a quicker promotion for Rasmus, but that is far from a guarantee and not something I am going to count on at this point.
Even if he starts in the minors he can quickly prove that ‘08 was not the norm and be up in the majors and making an impact for fantasy owners. He certainly will have value in all formats, but especially in those leagues that require 5 OF’ers. I’m not going to say that he’s going to emerge as the 20/20 player right off the bat, because I don’t know how many AB’s he’ll actually get. I do expect him to show that type of potential, being a 10/10 player in the second half, at worst.
I think the power will be there before the speed, though. I could see him putting up a line similar to Jay Bruce in 2008 (.254, 21 HR, 4 SB in 413 AB), though with a bit more speed (think 12-14 SB potential). That should tell you all you really need to know. Owners were quick to snatch up Bruce when he got recalled, and you should do the same with Rasmus.
If you are in a keeper league, it’s a no-brainer. Stash him away as soon as you can, you will not regret it.
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