Toronto Blue Jays Report Card: Colby Rasmus


Toronto Blue Jays Report Card: Colby Rasmus

With the 2014 Toronto Blue Jays season officially in the books, it comes time to reflect on the individual performances turned in by the players on the Jays’ roster.

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Over the coming days, each player on the team, aside from September call-ups, will have their season recapped and graded. Their contract status will also be examined.

Today’s edition focuses on a certain country music-loving centre-fielder: Colby Rasmus

Grade: C-

May 3, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Toronto Blue Jays center fielder Colby Rasmus (28) hits a RBI single against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the fourth inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

When talking about Rasmus, there is no other reasonable place to begin than with his strikeouts. The former St. Louis Cardinal was sat down on strikes 124 times in 104 games played. Believe it or not, this is not even the highest number of strikeouts Rasmus has recorded in his career. He was retired on strikes at least 135 times in 2010, 2012 and 2013. Good riddance.

To provide a little more context to those statistics, in 2014 Rasmus saw 376 plate appearances. What does this mean? The 28-year-old had a strikeout percentage of 33 per cent. According to FanGraphs, a popular advanced statistics source, any strikeout percentage of 27 per cent or higher is classified as “awful.” Rasmus makes 27 per cent look easy to attain.

Next, attention must be drawn to the southerner’s batting average. Rasmus, who missed more than a month of action earlier in the season, finished 2014 hitting .225. That’s not going to cut it. His redeeming quality is his home run potential, but that only goes so far.

Rasmus blasted 18 homers for the year, ranking him sixth in the MLB amongst centre-fielders. When he connects on one, it is truly a sight to behold. Even fans sitting in the 500 level outfield better be paying attention.

May 5 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Toronto Blue Jays center fielder Colby Rasmus (28) cannot make catch as left fielder Melky Cabrera (53) watches on a ball hit for a triple by Philadelphia Phillies right fielder Marlon Byrd (not pictured) in the sixth inning at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Moving over to defence, it is a popular belief that Rasmus excels in this area. Sure, he makes some spectacular plays, and those are the ones fans tend to remember. When examining his entire body of work from this past season, the numbers tell a different story.

Using the Ultimate Zone Rating statistic, one that measures the amount of runs saved based on a player’s arm, range, errors committed, and double plays, Rasmus posted a UZR of -9.1. Obviously if your total is south of zero, it’s not a good sign. The former first-round pick has shown to be a solid outfielder, just not this season.

To top it all off, in the opener of the series against the Houston Astros in August, Rasmus showed up late, earning him a spot on the bench for the game, and a spot on John Gibbons’ naughty list for the rest of the summer. Rasmus was replaced in centre by the trio of Anthony Gose, Kevin Pillar and Dalton Pompey. None of those players are anything to write home about, at least at this stage in their careers.

Next Year’s Contract Status: Free Agent

Barring unforeseen circumstances, Rasmus has struck out for the final time wearing the blue and white. He and his walk-up music will find a new home in 2014. His towering long balls will be missed, but his strikeout percentage certainly won’t be.