Sunday, April 29, 2012

Getting to Know Colby Rasmus

Can any truly honest Blue Jays fan out there say that Colby Rasmus wasn’t starting off this season under the gun already?

Rasmus was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays last summer from the St. Louis Cardinals as a part of major three-team swing that send journeyman Corey Patterson, lefty-specialist Marc Rzepczynski, former big arm Octavio Dotel, and innings-eater Edwin Jackson to the eventual World Series champs. However, as a former pro scout once said, “the team that ends up with the best player after the trade, wins.” Colby Rasmus was by far the best player that came out of this trade – and the Toronto Blue Jays got him.

In 2009, Colby Rasmus made his MLB debut with the Cardinals as the centerfielder. Rasmus put his tools on display over the next 2 seasons with a combined .268 batting average, .340 on-base percentage, and .790 on-base plus slugging percentage. This was not a coincidence, and it was certainly not a fluke. Colby was a 5-tool American baseball prospect that with a guaranteed number of at-bats proved that he is a stud, and has the ability to become the horse he was built to be.

With those numbers in mind, Colby went through a process of manager Tony La Russa and the Cardinals organization attempting to alter his approach at the plate. La Russa did not like the amount of movement taking place with Colby’s front leg. This was not the great cause for concern – it was when Rasmus refused to adhere to the advice of hitting coach Mark McGuire or La Russa, instead siding with his high school coach (Mr. Rasmus himself). This rift between the young Rasmus and the Cardinals management, led to Colby being dealt to the Blue Jays in the trade that many major league still consider to be a steal for Canada’s team.

             With guaranteed at-bats and the starting CF position cemented for Rasmus this season with the Toronto Blue Jays, Colby will be the first one to let out a big sigh of relief. His humble, quiet, and hard-working demeanor may not seem to fit in with the rebuilding core of the Blue Jays on the surface, but Rasmus is a big piece of this team’s personality. Rasmus has said that this season is going to be about, “going out there and having fun”; and during the difficult parts of the season Rasmus is “going to just play the game he has played since he was a little boy.” This attitude is exactly what the Toronto Blue Jays need, in fact, the rest of professional sports could use more kids having fun instead of megastar egomaniacs throwing away their millions.

This season we have already seen Colby Rasmsus’ stellar range and defensive ability that should put angry fans crying for the trade of Rasmus in the corner for a timeout. Rasmus has shown his slugging potential with the long-ball and the extra base pop. The numbers that Rasmus has produced in 2012 despite hitting at the bottom of a struggling Blue Jays offence, are second only to his 2010 All-Star season with the Cardinals!

My final thought is this: I had the privilege and opportunity to meet Colby Rasmus at the Jays Care Foundation Curve Ball this April, and he is easily the most misunderstood professional athlete in the city of Toronto. He is funny, smart, and completely excited to be a huge part of this true powerhouse baseball team that GM Alex Anthopoulos is building for Toronto. When I asked Colby about his time in Toronto, especially with the criticism and anger that seemed to follow him from St. Louis, he told me not to worry. Colby was quick to say that he is having so much fun with guys like Lawrie, JP, Bautista, and others that he knows it will only be a matter of time before Blue Jays fans really get behind this superhorse. I say the time is now! I encourage the whole Toronto Blue Jays fanbase to get behind this 25-year old outfield machine, and watch him give us his 100% effort every single game. Rasmus is the real deal. 

-Nick Topolie

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  1. Dream on. Here in St. Louis, we spent several years waiting for Colby to reach his potential. He never really fit in with the Cardinals, and in fact alienated himself with a number of the veterans from time to time. Colby is a good kid, and it's not his fault that his meddling father thinks he's a better hitting coach than Mark McGwire and a better manager than Tony LaRussa. But Colby is not the most cerebral baseball player out there, and he often just flat out says and does dumb things. His father needs to leave him alone and let him become the player he was always supposed to be. We don't miss Colby in St. Louis. In fact there are many people here who think he should have been named the World Series MVP for them ... in his absence of course. I'm glad he's no longer here ... but I do feel bad for him. I think all he wants to do is run and hit and catch and throw ... kind of like my border collie. And he wants to have fun and be left alone. I hope he gets that in Toronto.

  2. Awesome Article Nick!

    I also had the pleasure of meeting Colby, although I met him in Dunedin during spring training, and he is very nice. He is so misunderstood, and it is definitely hurting his reputation in Toronto. Hopefully he can keep on smiling like he did last night after the walk off win.

  3. Watching Colby become a part of a team unit like the young core comprised of Lawrie, JP & RickyRo. These guys are clearly having fun out there and being the best defence in the league currently proves that this fun energy & swag is contagious. While there is no question that IF you side with management, that Colby alienated himself from a team. It is fair to claim that the team is better without the drama that surrounded the Rasmus'. However, it is very impulsive and knee-jerk to give Colby the title of the reason for why the Cardinals won the World Series last year. Give the Braves A LOT OF CREDIT! Praise needs to be given to La Russa, Carpenter, Lohse, Motte, Freese, Furcal, Jon Jay, and even Mr. Pujols himself - these guys all pulled together one hell of a stretch. Having an above-average defensive CF who can hit for power to all fields and has easy speed is an advantage for any team! How old is Colby? 25? 26? Given the fact that our Blue Jays now have the best hitter in baseball for the passed 2 seasons, and he didn't break out until his 27-28th birthday we understand patience and player development. Thanks again St. Louis, let us know if you have anymore misunderstood and unperforming all-stars you're looking to dump for journeymen and bottom bullpen arms.