Both Daryl Jones and Colby Rasmus are off to slow starts in the Cardinals system this season, but thereâ€™s no reason to panic.
Not yet anyway.
Rasmus is hitting just .217/.309/.400 in 60 at-bats at Double-A Springfield. But eight of the 2005 first-round pickâ€™s hits have been for extra bases, and Rasmus added his sixth double of the season in Wednesdayâ€™s 4-3 win against Wichita.
The Cardinalsâ€™ No. 1 prospect held his own during a brief stay in big league camp this spring, hitting .375 in just eight at-bats, where the major league staff raved about his tools, athleticism and makeup.
â€œHeâ€™s done everything weâ€™ve asked him to do,â€ vice president of amateur scouting and player development Jeff Luhnow said. â€œI donâ€™t expect Double-A to be easy for him, but I do expect him to adapt to it and figure it out. Weâ€™ve seen that the last two levels. He has the tools and he has the makeup to succeed there now.”
One of the biggest areas Rasmus needs to adapt is facing lefthanded pitchingâ€”the 20-year-old is hitting just .091 against lefties in the Texas League this season.
For Jones, no one really questions his tools. His lack of performance, however, is cause for concern.
A third-round pick in 2005, Jones batted .227/.322/.341 over his first two seasons. That includes a brief stay at low Class A Quad Cities, where the 19-year-old started 2007.
In 58 at-bats, Jones is hitting .172/.304/.241 for the Swing. The fastest player and best athlete in the system, heâ€™s been hampered by hamstring problems since the draft two years ago.
â€œI think heâ€™s poised for the performance to catch up to the tools that we so obviously see every day,â€ Luhnow said. â€œHeâ€™s a smart baseball player, smart athlete. Itâ€™s sort of like a thoroughbred versus a plow horse in that the conditioning of the thoroughbred has to be so finely tuned and yet thereâ€™s not much margin for error. Thatâ€™s kind of how we feel about him. If he stays healthy, he should continue to get better and better.
â€œHeâ€™s a quick learner. When you tape his swingâ€”itâ€™s very goodâ€”thereâ€™s nothing about it where youâ€™d think the bat was slow or it was a long swing or anything. Itâ€™s compact, itâ€™s powerfulâ€”he gets the barrel of the bat through the zone in a hurry. He centers the ball and some good things are going to happen.â€
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