The Season That Was: Colby Rasmus

Brad White - Getty Images

Even with tying his career high in home runs and setting a new career high in RBI, it wasn't a good season for Colby Rasmus.

After picking up Colby Rasmus in the big trade in 2011, we were pretty happy. Picking up a young everyday player, with potential, for a handful of relievers and a rental starter is a good move. Colby suffered a wrist injury, and then, when he did play, he hit roughly as well as I would have, which is to say no at all.

In the off-season we were told that hitting coach Dwayne Murphy spent a couple of weeks with him, remaking his swing. In Murphy's words they:

Got rid of that big leg kick he had. He had watched Bautista hit, you know, there are several guys that tried to do the big leg kick and you just can't do the big leg kick. The big leg kick was getting him in big trouble. He was getting beat coming out of it.

He still wasn't hitting much in spring training, which we wrote off to working in the new swing. He hit .185 during spring training. Colby told us, in spring, how much happier he was as a Jay compared to when he was a Cardinal, which we took to be a good sign.

In our preseason predictions for Colby's numbers we were all pretty conservative on what we figured he might do. My guess was .250/.325/.475 wit 22 home runs and 65 RBI in 140 games. I was close on home runs, but nothing else.


G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB K SB CS AVG OBP SLG
2012 - Colby Rasmus 151 565 75 126 21 5 23 75 47 149 4 3 .223 .289 .400

He had a .259 BABIP, down from .267 in 2011 and below his career .287 mark. It did seem that, when he did hit the ball hard, it found gloves way too often. Fangraphs gives him a WAR of 1.4 valuing him at $6.1 million.

Comparing to 2011, Colby walked less (7.5% down from 9.5% last year) which is worrying. He struck out a little more (23.8% from 22.1%). He had a lot more line drives (20.1% up from 16.5%), which makes you wonder why the BABIP was down. More ground balls ( 37.6% from 35.8%). Fewer fly balls (42.2% from 47.7%) and fewer infield flies (14.4% from 15.5% but still up from his 10.2% career number). More of his fly balls landed in the stands (13.2% from 8.3%).

Colby had a harder time with lefties (..182/.262/.292) then righties (.239/.299/.440).

He hit better on the road (..230/.295/.440) than at home (..215/.282/.352).

Colby did a pretty good job with RISP (.279/.364/.488) and even better in his handful of at bats with the bases loaded (..375/.375/.750).

By month Rasmus hit:

April: .232/.281/.427

May: .237/.317/.430

June: .291/.331/.547

July: .191/.284/.372

August: .167/.222/.286

September: .200/.280/.295

So the first half of the season was pretty good (.259/.328/.494), but the second half was awful (.176/.238/.278). I'm sure part of that has to do with the little injuries he played through and shouldn't have. I wonder if he lost motivation when the season went to hell in a handbasket. For me, the possibility of making a ton of money would be motivation enough to keep focused, but maybe it isn't for him. I get the feeling that he doesn't exactly care about money. Likely he has more than he ever figured on having.

His favorite team to face? He hit .333/.467/.917 in 3 games against the Brewers. Among the AL teams, his favorite was the Royals (.345/.441/.759). Least favorite? He hit .074/.138/.074 in 6 games against the Indians.

Colby's longest hitting streak was 8 games, at the end of May. Longest on base streak was 13 games. His longest stretch without a home run was 30 games, from April 22 to May 26.

On defense, Fangraphs has Rasmus at a -0.6 UZR/150. I'm pretty comfortable considering him an average major league center fielder, the bar is pretty high in CF. He made 6 errors, there seemed to be a stretch where balls were glancing off the side of his glove instead of going into the glove, but it didn't last all that long. I'm ok with him in center field, but Anthony Gose would be much better defensively. If the two of them are in the outfield together next year, I'd like to see Gose play center.

I'm kind of giving into the idea that Colby isn't going to become the player we hoped it would but then he can still be useful at a lower level. Maybe he'll surprise us and have a season more in line with his 2010 year with the Cardinals, but as that year drifts further into the past, it looks more like that is the season that doesn't belong. I guess what I'm saying is that I'm giving up on the idea that he might become an All-Star one day, but he could still be a solid part of the team, with a bit more consistency. I wouldn't mind if he would remember how to take walks. He did do a good job dropping he occasional bunt for a base hit, not a terrible skill to have, but in the grand scheme of things I'd rather have 50+ more points of OBP.

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