KFFL answers important fantasy baseball questions for each Major League Baseball team as spring training approaches. What must fantasy baseball players know about the Toronto Blue Jays?
What will the Jays get from Colby Rasmus?
The center fielder definitely needed a change of scenery, and you don't get more radical than a ticket north of the border. Roto players won't know the entire truth about all that went down between the St. Louis Cardinals and Rasmus. It's pretty obvious, however, that the environment had become hostile, the relationship irreparable.
But will the move alone do it? In 35 games in a Blue Jays uni, Rasmus hit .173 with three home runs; to be fair, he also spent three weeks on the disabled list with a wrist injury. In 57 games (50 starts) prior to the trade to Toronto, he hit .194 with eight bombs. He was sitting regularly toward the end of his stay by the Gateway to the West.
The left-handed batter has struggled against southpaws (.217/.296/.362 in 397 MLB plate appearances). The Cards may have held him back by attempting to avoid exposing him to them regularly. In 2010, he hit lefties well, but Tony La Russa began sitting him when he slumped and last year benched him. The skipper also surmised in a TV interview that Rasmus seemed to prefer to receive hitting instruction from anyone other than his team's coaches, which was probably confusing him and hurting his chances to succeed. Fair or not, the comment probably didn't help the situation.
Last season, the 6-foot-2, 200-pounder didn't hit the ball hard often, and the frequency of infield flies he hit tripled, so some "better luck" alone isn't going to do the trick. His 2010 bust-out came with a HR/FB spike and a huge BABIP surge. The power is for real, but there are many reasons to be skeptical of his ability to hit for average any time soon.
Alex Anthopoulos takes chances on talented players who've worn out their welcomes elsewhere. Rasmus, still only 25, is his organization's greatest challenge yet. Considering how much the looming of Albert Pujols meant to St. Louis' lineup, Rasmus' spot in it probably mattered a little more than it does in other places.
In 2011, Rasmus' swinging-strike percentage remained steady, but he reduced his strikeout rate from 2010's mark, a correction that seemed likely. He also maintained a walk percentage of nearly 10 percent. Although he's used it somewhat sparingly, Rasmus has high-end speed; Toronto is much more aggressive on the base paths than the Cards are. If the Georgia native is open to it, swing guru Dwayne Murphy could help him turn things around.
Near the end of the 2010 season, Rasmus acknowledged that he hasn't handled pressure well. He also publicly denied a TLR assertion that he asked for a trade despite his unhappiness in St. Louis. It's unclear how much he's matured or how committed he is to the game, but he has a striking, if somewhat short, minor league record.
Rasmus would seem to be a more alluring buy in keeper leagues than redrafters, because if doubt has brought the price down enough, you may have a nice deal in future seasons. There's so much skill here that it'll be appealing to avoid letting him go as mixed-league end-gamer or an AL-only fourth or fifth outfielder, though. Yet, to bid on him as anything significantly greater is incredibly risky: It takes a lot more than talent to succeed; other than some faith, there doesn't appear to be much to go on.
About Nicholas Minnix
Minnix is baseball editor and a fantasy football analyst at KFFL. He plays in LABR and Tout Wars and won the FSWA Baseball Industry Insiders League in 2010.
The University of Delaware alum is a regular guest on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio and Baltimore's WNST AM 1570.
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