The Enigma That is Colby Rasmus
Fielding has been a major reason why Colby Rasmus (28) has continued to be in the line up on a daily basis. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports
As mentioned in my May 24th article (Blue Jays are Scoring in Ways We Dream About), I talked about how good the Toronto Blue Jays bats have been since May 5th. At the time the article was written, the Jays had scored a total of 96 runs during that stretch and were 10-6 over their last 16 games. The bats have been red hot. And then there’s this guy. The enigma. Colby Rasmus.
So it’s fairly obvious to everybody that the major reason Rasmus still gets to play everyday is because of his fielding skills right? It’s certainly not for his enigmatic bat. Colby has been a stud, almost Gold Glove worthy centerfielder for Toronto this season. He has saved some runs very much in the same way Brett Lawrie has with his glove: making remarkable play after play. Like Lawrie though, the bat has let Colby down so far… sort of.
On a team that has JP Arencibia getting noticed for his high strike out rate (58 K in 174 ABs), Rasmus has found a way to thwart even that record setting pace, with a record setting pace of his own (63 K in 156 ABs.) Despite this, as well as batting .237 (.216 from May 5-24), Rasmus was #3 on the team in RBIs. He had 11 hits in 51 ABs, three of which were via the dinger, yet drove in 10 runs. How did this happen?
I decided to try and find some answers. I thought “Cornrows must hit well with runners in scoring position (RISP) right?” Unsurprisingly, I found this to be true. Colby is 11 for 38 (.289) with guys on second and third. He’s driven in 13 runs. That makes him clutch right?
NO! In fact, he’s as far from clutch as it gets. With two outs, runners on base or not, Rasmus has been terrible! In general, he’s hitting .170 with only four RBIs. It gets worse though. Late and close, he’s hitting .310 with a BAbip of .571. This is by far and away his best stat. However, put him up to bat with two outs and runners in scoring position late in the game: .125 (2 of 16) with 2 RBIs. It’s mindboggling!
He’s not much better with no outs either. .240 BA, 19:3 K:BB ratio.
Down by a run, do you want Colby to bat? Maybe this stat is why ol’ John Gibbons replaced Rasmus with Rajai Davis late in a close April game after Colby already had 2 hits: .138 in a tie game (with 12 K in 29 ABs) and .239 when down by a run. This is NOT a clutch hitter. Yet he appears to be clutch! There are NO answers.
It seems the best time to let Rasmus hit the ball is when he’s starting in CF (37 for 154 as a starter. 0 for 2 with 2 K off the bench) in Toronto (.279 vs .186 on the road), batting 7th (.275 vs .166 hitting anywhere else in the line up) when there’s 1 out and runners in scoring position (3 for 8 with 2 RBIs.) I love stats… but all of this is making my head hurt.
What do you do with Colby Rasmus? No, seriously. I’m actually asking YOU what you would do. Where would you place him in the order? Do you start him? Do you trade him? Do you banish him to Romero-ville to work stuff out? Oh, speaking of working stuff out, if you think Rasmus embraces the idea of change, I’ll leave you with this Carroll Rogers article from the Atlanta Journal Constitution. It’s a good read, but pay careful attention to the advice Colby has for his rookie pitching brother Cory of the Atlanta Braves. Time to go find some Advil…
*All stats from www.baseball-reference.com