So, I was on the clock in the 21st round of my big money (big for me, at least) keeper league and one name kept jumping out at me. Like a brainwashed member of a local fight club I kept reciting one thing in my head…”his name is Colby Rasmus, his name is Colby Rasmus, his name is Robert Paulson.” I really liked Colby Rasmus coming into my drafts this year. He was one of the guys that I really targeted, but I couldn’t really back it up with any real data or sabermetrics.
It was pretty elementary with Rasmus; I watched him play last season and thought “this kid has a good approach.” Not only does he have a good approach at the plate, but he also has a whole lot of tools. He’s a true five-tool player. He has light tower power and he had stolen as many as 18 bags in the minors. He’s also an above average centerfielder. Going into the season it was clear that Rasmus had the tools to be successful and he definitely was going to have the opportunity of a lifetime. I knew Colby was going to be hitting behind one of the best 3-4 combinations in all of baseball, in Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday.
Rasmus was an uber-prospect, he hits for power and has decent speed, and he was going to be batting behind two of the best hitters in baseball. Why wasn’t this guy being picked in the top 10 rounds? Well, it was pretty simple, there were some big question marks. Rasmus was, at best, an average hitter last year. He hit .251 with 16 homeruns and only stole three bases. Lefties held Rasmus to a miniscule .160 average in 106 at-bats. Not only that, but Rasmus was really, really bad after the All Star break last season. He only hit five homeruns and had a .216 average.
Still, when I watched Rasmus I really liked what I was seeing. Rasmus has always been a very disciplined hitter, with a keen eye. He struggled in 2009, but it’s important to remember that he was only 22-years-old for most of the season. When I watched him play, he wasn’t like most young kids that typically play in the majors. He’s always played like a much more mature player. He handles his business and doesn’t really have much to say. I’m guessing that he didn’t show up to spring training in a Volkswagen Beetle with a Rolls-Royce grill, nailing batting gloves to his wall.
We’re now basically a month into the season and Rasmus has done more than I could have ever hoped for. He’s batting .344 with six homers and three steals heading into today; he has also driven in 12 and scored 19 runs. Rasmus has also continued to be very patient, drawing 17 walks. According to the various player raters, Rasmus has been about the 4th best outfielder in fantasy baseball at this point in the season. What’s most amazing to me is that he’s still available in 21% of all Yahoo leagues and about 17% in ESPN leagues. How does that happen? If you are reading this article, you probably have enough interest in the game to prevent that from happening in your league, but I’m still pretty baffled that he’s still available in any league. This kid is the real deal. He can hit and he’s taking advantage of being in a great spot, in a great lineup. Rasmus is mature beyond his years, and has as much upside as anyone in the game. I think we can expect big things in 2010.
My projection: .285 AVG/100 R/27 HR/88 RBI/12 steals
Tim George is a teacher and football coach from Huntington, WV. He's a forum member at the cafe...TimGeorge2
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