Colby Rasmus: Bust or Bounce Back Candidate?

TORONTO, CANADA - SEPTEMBER 17: Colby Rasmus #28 of the Toronto Blue Jays bats during MLB game action against the New York Yankees September 17, 2011 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Brad White/Getty Images)

Coming off a 2010 season where he hit .276-.361-.498 with 23 HRs, 66 RBI and 85 runs scored, I was very high on Colby Rasmus heading into fantasy drafts last year. I expected him to show more growth at the plate in 2011, but instead he disappointed many fantasy owners in 2011. The Cardinals tired of him last year and traded him to the Toronto Blue Jays for Edwin Jackson, Corey Patterson and a few relievers, as the trade came as a shock to the fantasy landscape. Fantasy owners were left to wonder what we were missing? Why would the Cardinals deal an outfielder with upside for Edwin Jackson who was a few months from free agency, a washed up toolsy outfielder, and some relief help?

Well, maybe because Rasmus might not be that great a hitter. He finished the 2011 season hitting .225-.298-.391 with 14 HRS, 53 RBIs and 75 runs scored. He lowered his strikeout rate in 2011 from 27.7% to 22.1%, but his walk rate also dropped from 11.8% to 9.5% in 2011.

More on Rasmus after the jump:

Rasmus will be the Blue Jays starting center fielder in 2012, but with Anthony Gose in AAA and Jake Marisnick a few years away, he will have to start living up to the potential many expected of him. Here are Rasmus' triple slash lines for the last 3 seasons, and tell me what jumps out at you:

2009: .251-.307-.407 (474 at bats)

2010: .276-.361-.498 (464 at bats)

2011: .225-.298-.391 (471 at bats)

What jumps out at me is that it is possible that his 2010 season was an aberration. His 2009 and 2011 seasons are eerily similar, and I failed to mention that his 2010 triple slash line benefitted from a .354 BABIP. Here is a breakdown of his year by year BABIP:

2009: .282

2010: .354

2011: .267

Again, his 2010 BABIP may have been more luck than skill. After looking at his career minor league stats, he has never had a BABIP higher than .346, and that was way back in Low A in 2006. Rasmus is living off of a huge 2007 season in AA where he hit .275-.381-.551 with 29 HRs, 72 RBI, 93 runs and 18 stolen bases, but has yet to live up to the hype that resulted from that big season.

Rasmus turned 25 years of age in August, so it isn't like it is do or die for him, and he could still turns things around. He's got a few things going for him: 1) he's young, and 2) he has a new start in Toronto, and 3) he is keeping his fingers crossed that Tony LaRussa likes retirement.

I have waxed negative on Rasmus in this article, but what do you think? Will Rasmus bounce back in 2012? Or will he continue down the "busty" road?

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