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MLB Fantasy Projections, No. 96: Can Colby Rasums Become an Elite Outfielder?

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MLB Fantasy Projections, No. 96: Can Colby Rasums Become an Elite Outfielder?
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Our 2011 fantasy baseball projections will be released one-by-one until the top 100 players have been revealed. These rankings consider past achievements, current performance and expected future results based on standard 5×5 H2H settings.

Colby Rasmus soared through the St. Louis Cardinals’ system after being selected in the first round of the 2005 draft, touted as a toolsy prospect with major upside. He’s displayed his impressive skill set at the major league level, even showing improvements from his rookie to sophomore season:

  • 2009: 520 at-bats, 16 HRs, three steals, 6.9 walk rate, .251/.307/.407
  • 2010: 534 at-bats, 23 HRs, 12 steals, 11.8 walk rate, .276/.361/.498

Yet, despite these progressions, a few red flags leave me concerned.

Rasmus’ strikeout rate ballooned from a respectable 20.0 percent in ‘09, to a whopping 31.9 percent last season. Likewise, his contact rate dropped from 78.6 percent in his rookie year to just 75.7 percent in 2010 (MLB average: 80.7 percent).

Although his batting average did increase 25 points from his rookie campaign, it was likely aided by a generous .354 BABIP (.282 in ‘09). Unless Rasmus greatly improves his contact rate, a normalized BABIP will send his batting average back into the .250 range.

Rasmus’ fly-ball rate (45.7 percent in ‘09, 48.6 percent in ‘10) isn’t exactly conducive to a high average either, and his .277 batting clip in four minor league seasons (1,533 at-bats) suggests he’ll likely never hit for a high average.

While he did swipe 12 bases last year, he needed 20 attempts to do so, generating an embarrassing 60 percent success rate. Rasmus is projected to bat second in the Cardinals’ lineup this season, which will likely limit his stolen base opportunities. This will, however, increase the quality of pitches he sees, and he will certainly push for 90 runs with Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday hitting behind him.

The 24-year-old left-handed slugger has an outside shot at 30 HRs and 10 steals this year, but it will likely come with a .260’s batting average. If Rasmus can cut down on his strikeouts and improve his contact rate, his value will go through the roof.

  PA R HR RBI SB AVG
2010 stats 534 85 23 66 12 .276
2011 FBI Forecast 620 90 28 65 10 .266

 

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