2013 Toronto Blue Jays Reviews: Colby Rasmus

May 31, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; Toronto Blue Jays center fielder Colby Rasmus (28) after a two-run home run during the second inning against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

May 31, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; Toronto Blue Jays center fielder Colby Rasmus (28) after a two-run home run during the second inning against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Name: Colby Rasmus
Position: CF
2013 Stat Line

Year Age Tm G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB
2013 26 TOR 118 417 57 115 26 1 22 66 0 1 37 135 .276 .338 .501 .840 209
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/26/2013.

 

2013 Expectations

Coming into 2013, it was considered a mystery as to what Toronto Blue Jays CF Colby Rasmus was going to produce. He was, oh what did I call it? An enigma, if you will.  Coming off two consecutive down years that averaged out to this,

.224 BA .293 OBP 19 HR 64 RBI .395 SLG 64% SB% 133 K 1.1 WAR 0.4 dWAR

the major question at hand was “are Jays’ fans going to see more 2010 Colby (.276 BA, .361 OBP, 23 HR, 66 RBI, 3.6 WAR) or more of the 2011-2012 average above?”  The Blue Jays banked on 2010 Colby Rasmus when they made the trade in 2011 that sent him over from St.Louis and were largely disappointed with his 2012 season despite his defense improving.  Rasmus had to get better or he was likely to be overtaken by prized minor league prospect Anthony Gose.

2013 Transactions

Rasmus, for most of his career with the Blue Jays, has been relatively healthy:

2013/08/14  DL15 retroactive to Aug.12 for strained left oblique.
2013/09/21  DL15 Eye Injury*.

*Colby caught a baseball to the face while running out to CF.  He was unaware that the ball had been thrown to him.  It cost him the final 9 days of the season.

2013 Production

Rasmus’ 2013 was a tale of two seasons offensively.  From about April through June, you often saw Colby swing like in the video below (it would be better if I could find a video of Rasmus swinging and missing at low pitches.)

Notice where Colby’s head is in the video.  He never looks down onto the ball.  Granted the ball is up in the strike zone, but this was a common theme.  Colby’s K:AB from April 1 through June 29 sat 1:2.73 (95:260).  It showed in his offensive numbers as well.  .238 BA, .311 OBP, yet he still hit 14 HR while only driving in 37 RBIs.  As the season progressed, things would change for Rasmus.  He started keeping his head down on the ball, like in this next video.  Fast forward to 0:26 for slow motion.

Early in the season, Colby would have missed that pitch.  If you notice, it’s different during this AB.  His eyes are down, locked onto the ball just before contact.  In this video against Tillman and the Orioles (Fast Forward to 1:00), you can see his head down on the ball as he hits the snot out of it.  From June 30 through the rest of the season, Rasmus’ K:AB was 1:3.95 (40:157) and his stat line went as follows:

Date Tm G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
Jun 30 to Sep 20, 2013 TOR 43 157 24 53 14 0 8 29 0 0 11 40 0.338 0.385 0.58 0.964

Now that it’s the end of the season, I love using stats like Wins Above Average and Wins Above Replacement.  Rasmus experienced career bests in both, with a 3.3 WAA and 4.8 WAR.  Those numbers make him a borderline All Star according to Baseball-Reference.com.  Had his numbers been better earlier in the season, he more than likely would have been selected.

During those early season struggles at the plate, one thing about Colby’s game remained constant (no, not “he didn’t steal any bases!”  Though that is true).  Rasmus put up career best numbers in the field.  His dWAR was the best of his career (1.6) and he continues to improve in that part of his game (-0.1 2010, 1.0 2011) during his time as a Blue Jay.  While his Fld% doesn’t tell the story (.987 Rasmus / .990 League Avg.), his Defensive Runs Saved Above Average (11), Range Factor per Game (RF/G : 2.71) vs League Range Factor per Game (lgRFG : 2.23) says Colby was like Pac-Man out in the field.  After gunning down 7 runners from the outfield last season, this season teams have shown Rasmus more respect and he only had 1 outfield assist.  While it’s possible Rasmus is on the short list of Gold Glove players, he will most likely get overlooked by 2x GG winner Adam Jones.  Make no mistake though, Colby’s had one helluva year for Toronto.

2014 Outlook

It seemed like a light may have switched on for Rasmus this season, but we’ve been fooled before.  That being said, the 2013 season has been his most complete season yet in a Jays uniform, but I’d temper expectations.  Had it not been for a couple of injuries, Rasmus could have easily set career highs in BA, HRs, RBIs, SLG, Total Bases, and unfortunately, Ks.  This should offset the calls for Anthony Gose, who took a step back in his progression this season. It’s also something positive for Rasmus to build on entering the 2014 season after having a couple of rough years at the dish.  Jays fans could be looking at the first CF since Vernon Wells to play in All Star game (2010), but that’s if Colby comes to play… and keeps his head down on the ball.

 

*All stats were provided by www.baseball-reference.com.
**All video was provided by www.youtube.com

Topics: Colby Rasmus, Toronto Blue Jays

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