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Saturday 25th Mar 2017

This time of year, we are deluged with the “I’m in the best shape of my career” types of articles that can usually be taken with a grain of salt. In the case of the St. Louis Cardinals’ Colby Rasmus, it looks to be true.

Through different preparation and a new approach at the plate a different Rasmus will emerge in 2011. His father Tony Rasmus explained this at The Cardinal Nation Blog. In 2010, Colby reported to camp at 205-210 pounds, but the 23-year-old is currently down to 180 on his way to his target for next spring, 175.

The Cardinals apparently want the left-handed hitting centerfielder to cut down on his strikeouts and become a .300 hitter by increasing his contact rate, going the other way, slapping balls to left field. Tony Rasmus commented that the expectation is that his son may not hit 10 home runs in this role.

Other than the 3-4-5 hitters of Albert Pujols-Matt Holliday-Lance Berkman, Cardinals manager Tony La Russa has not divulged his regular 2011 lineup. The “new” Rasmus could be the second-place hitter, but if so, his stolen bases will be limited since the club doesn’t like first base open with Pujols up.

Watch for signals in spring training, but taking this at face value, I would bump down Rasmus’ projected home runs and RBI and increase runs scored and batting average expectations.

Comments   

0 #3 Todd Zola 2010-12-10 22:39
Our old pal Jason Grey used to comp Rasmus to Nick Markakis and if Rasmus turns into a present day Markakis, that isn't so bad, especially in "real" baseball. I'll take some line drives to left so long as he can still turn on the mistake, sort of like...Markakis.
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0 #2 Rob Leibowitz 2010-12-10 18:52
Becoming more of a contact hitter reminds me of what became of Darin Erstad. It was a conscious effort to become terrible.

Sure a 32% strikeout rate and a .354 BABIP does not strike me as particularly sustainably at the moment, but to turn Rasmus into a .300 hitter would require a very drastic change in his approach. To do it, his OBP would probably be less than it currently is, resulting in a net loss in productivity.

Instead, it'd be nice to see him drop his rate by say 5% or so. If he can do that without much of a drop in his walk rates, then that would be exciting. A .260 to .280 batting average would then be more sustainable and would still maintain a .350+ OBP.

Last season he had virtually no platoon split and almost identical peripheral numbers against righties and lefties alike. It will be interesting to see if he can maintain that against lefties.
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0 #1 John Verdello 2010-12-10 14:32
Right up there with "I had lasik surgery this past off season and I'm picking up the ball much better ... I still can't HITit ... but I can see what I'm missing much more clearly."
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