Top Prospect #14: Colby Rasmus

February 16, 2009

14
NAME: Colby Rasmus
POSITION: Center Field
AGE: 22 | BATS: L | THROWS: L
ORGANIZATION: St. Louis Cardinals

2008 STATISTICS
LVL AVG R HR RBI OBP SLG
MiLB .252 58 12 38 .351 .401

Scouting Report: Colby Rasmus projects all plus tools and is the superior, impact-type prospect the St. Louis Cardinals organization has been waiting for ever since Albert Pujols was plucked from it. Some people are worried that Rasmus won’t be the same man since his injury last season, but there’s no proof of that. Rasmus is a perfect example of a five-tool player as he can run, throw, field, hit, and hit for power. He has very quick hands which gives him excellent plate coverage. Projects to have plus power and should be able to put up a fantastic stat line. Excellent bat speed, good pitch recognition, and plus runner. Not sure how much St. Louis will allow him to run once he reaches Majors but could have 20+ stolen bases per year. He’s doing an excellent job on his move to center field which is where the Cardinals desperately need someone ever since Jim Edmonds’ departure.

By Matthew Whipps
The Diamond Cutter
Major & Minor League Baseball Columnist
diamondcutter@columnist.com

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Retro Draft: 2005 High School Outfielders

March 17, 2008

Rasmus at the plate (mwlguide/flickr)

Rasmus has the the unenviable task of replacing Jim Edmonds’ shoes center. (mwlguide / flickr)

The first round of the 2005 first-year player draft saw an incredible crop of talent come from it. Players like Justin Upton, Troy Tulowitzki, and Ryan Braun have already reached the Majors and have made major contributions to their teams playoff runs while others like Alex Gordon, Matt Garza, and Ryan Zimmerman have cemented themselves as franchise players in their organizations. Not to mention 12 of the top 30 picks at one time or another were listed on my top 25 prospect list over the past couple of years. So with all this talent that exploded on to the scene in 2005, why is this article directed exclusively at the high school outfielders?

As good as the 2005 draft was, it isn’t remembered for all the talented players that came from it, but rather it is remembered for having the richest crop of high school outfielders we possibly have ever seen in one draft. We’ve had drafts that were deep at certain positions before, but none with high schoolers the caliber of the four studs in center field that came from this one. All four of them appear to be can’t miss players which is so rare to have in kids so young, at the same position, in the same draft. To give you a better understanding of the talent, here’s a look at the four center fielders that still have the baseball world talking:

10th Pick / Cameron Maybin / Detroit Tigers / TC Roberson High School
Cameron Maybin has a lighting quick bat and long arms that can generate a lot of power. Because of this I project him to be a 30-plus home run hitter down the road for the Tigers. Also due to his speed and stellar base running instincts, look for this kid to steal 30-plus bases as well. Drafting a future 30/30 guy right out of high school isn’t something you come across everyday and Maybin looks to have the best chance to join the club. Maybin also has great range and powerful arm in center field. Between A and AA he posted .316/.409/.523 with 14 homers, 53 RBI, and 25 stolen bases. This guy is an all around superstar and will be making noise in Detroit as soon as next year.

11th Pick / Andrew McCutchen / Pittsburgh Pirates / Fort Meade High School
Andrew McCutchen is an exciting player with a stellar glove in centerfield. Despite his great defensive prowess, his impact bat may be his best skill. McCutchen has quick hands and a compact swing which produces a surprising amount of power for someone of his stature. He is a line drive hitter due to his quick bat speed and is able to hit consistently to all fields. While he did struggle a bit in the Minors this year hitting .265/.329/.388 with 11 homers, 53 RBI, and 21 stolen bases, the Pirates organization is hoping he will still be their shining star in center at the start of next season.

12th Pick / Jay Bruce / Cincinnati Reds / Westbrook High School
Jay Bruce is a five tool player who can impact the game with his power bat, speed, and defense. He needs to work on his plate discipline and he also tends to struggle against lefties and off speed pitches, but those are adjustable. If he can learn these items the next few years and combine that with his current skills, he will be a monster. Bruce has already shown his masher capabilities by hitting .319/.375/.587 with 87 R, 26 homers, and 89 RBI in three levels for the Reds. With his talent and power, look for him to crush 35-40 HR in the hitter friendly Great American Ballpark.

28th Pick / Colby Rasmus / St. Louis Cardinals / Russell County High School
Colby Rasmus is the superior, impact-type prospect the St. Louis Cardinals organization has been waiting for ever since Albert Pujols was plucked from it. Rasmus is a perfect example of a five-tool player as he can run, throw, field, hit, and hit for power. Excellent bat speed, good pitch recognition, and plus runner. Rasmus had an offensive explosion in AA this season hitting .275/.381/.551 with 29 homers, 72 RBI, and 18 stolen bases. The only thing is that I am not sure how much St. Louis will allow him to run once he reaches Majors.

As you can see, despite the great amount of talent that was available in this draft, the four center fielders who at the time were just barely old enough to buy a pack of cigarettes are the ones that people still mention when the 2005 draft is brought up.

I for one can not wait to see how these young players develop and who will rise to the top as the best of the high school center fielders in the class of ’05.


2008 Top 5 Prospects: St. Louis Cardinals

February 15, 2008

As we lead up to both the start of the 2008 season and our “Diamond Cutter” top 100 prospects list, I will be taking a look at the top five prospects from every single Major League team. Each team will have its top five prospects along with a brief scouting report on each player that I have pulled from my scouting notes. Today we wrap up the NL Central with the St. Louis Cardinals. As always, let me know how you feel about the rankings in the comments section below or via email.

1.) Colby Rasmus, OF: Colby Rasmus projects all plus tools and is the superior, impact-type prospect the St. Louis Cardinals organization has been waiting for ever since Albert Pujols was plucked from it. Rasmus is a perfect example of a five-tool player as he can run, throw, field, hit, and hit for power. He has very quick hands which gives him excellent plate coverage. Projects to have plus power and should be able to put up a fantastic stat line. Excellent bat speed, good pitch recognition, and plus runner. Not sure how much St. Louis will allow him to run once he reaches Majors but could have 20+ stolen bases per year. He’s doing an excellent job on his move to center field which is where the Cardinals desperately need someone ever since Jim Edmonds departure.

2.) Chris Perez, RHP: Chris Perez projects to be the future closer for the St. Louis Cardinals. Perez has a fantastic mid-90’s fastball with good sinking action on it. He also offers up a plus slider that reaches the mid to upper 80’s. This combination of pitches is perfect for a power closer and should make it much easier for him to be successful. The problem however is that when Perez makes mistakes, he makes them up in the zone which leaves his pitches very vulnerable and can get hit very, very hard. He needs to work on keeping the ball down (especially in a crucial save situation where you only have a one to three run cushion) and if he can he will make a solid closer.

3.) Jamie Garcia, LHP: Garcia is an excellent athlete who has run into some elbow injury problems recently. Garcia has a plus curveball that he tends to get a little curveball-happy with and it started wearing on his arm (may miss most or all of 2008). He will need to cut back a little bit on his curve and start relying more on his change-up and plus fastball with great sinking action that sits in the low to mid-90’s. The sinking action is so solid on his fastball that he has made himself one of the best ground ball pitching prospects in baseball. If not for his injury and the upcoming significant time he will miss, he would probably be in the number two spot on this list.

4.) Bryan Anderson, C: Bryan Anderson is a few ticks above average as a catcher with some areas to work on. Overall he’s decent but he does have some polishing to do in terms of his game. On one hand he is improving on calling a game and has a strong arm but he does need to work a little on blocking balls in the dirt. Offensively he has a nice, smooth left handed swing which generates a lot of line drives. He doesn’t have much power to speak of but then again he won’t ever really be thought of as an offensive catcher.

5.) Adam Ottavino, RHP: Ottavino looks to have a very strong set of developing pitches in his repertoire. Currently he has a plus fastball that sits in the low to mid-90’s (at times can crank up to 98 mph) and a set of developing pitches including a quality slider (on the brink of being a consistent plus pitch) and curve. One of the biggest things holding him back right now with these pitches is his control. He tends to struggle a bit with this and might be able to clean it up with some work on his mechanics. If he’s able to fix his control problems, he projects to be a high as a number two starter but my guess is he’ll be more of a mid-rotation type guy.

Catch my column “Twins Killings” every day only on the Most Valuable Network.

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Retro Draft: 2005 High School Outfielders

October 12, 2007

The first round of the 2005 first-year player draft saw an incredible crop of talent come from it. Players like Justin Upton, Troy Tulowitzki, and Ryan Braun have already reached the Majors and have made major contributions to their teams playoff runs while others like Alex Gordon, Matt Garza, and Ryan Zimmerman have cemented themselves as franchise players in their organizations. Not to mention 12 of the top 30 picks at one time or another were listed on my top 25 prospect list over the past couple of years. So with all this talent that exploded on to the scene in 2005, why is this article directed exclusively at the high school outfielders?

As good as the 2005 draft was, it isn’t remembered for all the talented players that came from it, but rather it is remembered for having the richest crop of high school outfielders we possibly have ever seen in one draft. We’ve had drafts that were deep at certain positions before, but none with high schoolers the caliber of the four studs in center field that came from this one. All four of them appear to be can’t miss players which is so rare to have in kids so young, at the same position, in the same draft. To give you a better understanding of the talent, here’s a look at the four center fielders that still have the baseball world talking:

10th Pick / Cameron Maybin / Detroit Tigers / TC Roberson High School
Cameron Maybin has a lighting quick bat and long arms that can generate a lot of power. Because of this I project him to be a 30-plus home run hitter down the road for the Tigers. Also due to his speed and stellar base running instincts, look for this kid to steal 30-plus bases as well. Drafting a future 30/30 guy right out of high school isn’t something you come across everyday and Maybin looks to have the best chance to join the club. Maybin also has great range and powerful arm in center field. Between A and AA he posted .316/.409/.523 with 14 homers, 53 RBI, and 25 stolen bases. This guy is an all around superstar and will be making noise in Detroit as soon as next year.

11th Pick / Andrew McCutchen / Pittsburgh Pirates / Fort Meade High School
Andrew McCutchen is an exciting player with a stellar glove in centerfield. Despite his great defensive prowess, his impact bat may be his best skill. McCutchen has quick hands and a compact swing which produces a surprising amount of power for someone of his stature. He is a line drive hitter due to his quick bat speed and is able to hit consistently to all fields. While he did struggle a bit in the Minors this year hitting .265/.329/.388 with 11 homers, 53 RBI, and 21 stolen bases, the Pirates organization is hoping he will still be their shining star in center at the start of next season.

12th Pick / Jay Bruce / Cincinnati Reds / Westbrook High School
Jay Bruce is a five tool player who can impact the game with his power bat, speed, and defense. He needs to work on his plate discipline and he also tends to struggle against lefties and off speed pitches, but those are adjustable. If he can learn these items the next few years and combine that with his current skills, he will be a monster. Bruce has already shown his masher capabilities by hitting .319/.375/.587 with 87 R, 26 homers, and 89 RBI in three levels for the Reds. With his talent and power, look for him to crush 35-40 HR in the hitter friendly Great American Ballpark.

28th Pick / Colby Rasmus / St. Louis Cardinals / Russell County High School
Colby Rasmus is the superior, impact-type prospect the St. Louis Cardinals organization has been waiting for ever since Albert Pujols was plucked from it. Rasmus is a perfect example of a five-tool player as he can run, throw, field, hit, and hit for power. Excellent bat speed, good pitch recognition, and plus runner. Rasmus had an offensive explosion in AA this season hitting .275/.381/.551 with 29 homers, 72 RBI, and 18 stolen bases. The only thing is that I am not sure how much St. Louis will allow him to run once he reaches Majors.

As you can see, despite the great amount of talent that was available in this draft, the four center fielders who at the time were just barely old enough to buy a pack of cigarettes are the ones that people still mention when the 2005 draft is brought up.

I for one can not wait to see how these young players develop and who will rise to the top as the best of the high school center fielders in the class of ’05.

Catch my column “Twins Killings” every day only on the Most Valuable Network.

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