- Full name Colby Ryan Rasmus
- Born 08/11/1986 in Columbus, GA
- Profile Ht.: 6'2" / Wt.: 195 / Bats: L / Throws: L
- School Russell County
- Debut 04/07/2009
Drafted in the 1st round (28th overall) by the St. Louis Cardinals in 2005 (signed for $1,000,000).
View Draft ReportRasmus emerged as an elite prospect as the MVP of the Perfect Game World Wood Bat Fall Championship last year, going 12-for-21 with 15 RBIs. He has since added 15 pounds of muscle to his frame and had a tremendous spring. His father Tony coaches Colby and his brother Cory, a junior infielder and pitcher, at Russell County High, which advanced to the state championship series behind a three-hit shutout from Colby. Colby and Cory helped take Phenix City to the Little League World Series in 1999, and the team won the United States bracket before losing to Japan in the championship final. Now Colby Rasmus could go nine rounds higher than his father, who was a 10th-round pick in 1986. Rasmus' tools grade out average or above across the board. He covers 60 yards in 6.7 seconds and has a plus arm, throwing fastballs up to 91 mph off the mound. Besides his tools, scouts love his maturity and savvy for the game. Some compare Rasmus to Steve Finley, while others believe he evokes Shawn Green; it depends on whether the scout believes Rasmus can stay in center field. He has a short, simple lefthanded swing that he repeats, and the barrel of the bat stays in the hitting zone a long time. While he could use a better load to his swing, he at times produces good leverage, leading scouts to believe he'll hit for at least average power. He's considered motivated to sign despite his Auburn commitment.
Organization Prospect Rankings
The 28th overall pick in the 2005 draft, Rasmus signed for $1 million following a celebrated high school career. He broke Bo Jackson's Alabama state record with 24 homers that spring and led Russell County High to a No. 1 ranking in the final national poll. Rasmus' father Tony coached the team, which also featured Colby's brother Cory (a Braves sandwich pick in 2006) and Kasey Kiker (a Rangers first-rounder in 2006). After a breakout year in the Double-A Texas League in 2007, Rasmus came to spring training last year with an outside chance of making the big league team as a 21-year-old. He impressed the Cardinals, especially with his patience, but he wasn't able to dislodge any of the five outfielders ahead of him on the depth chart. His season quickly eroded into disappointment. He hit .214 in his first two months at Triple-A Memphis, and once he found his stroke he was slowed by a groin injury. Rasmus was starting to catch fire when he sprained his left knee when he checked a swing in late July. The injury all but ended his season and cost him a trip to the Olympics, where he would have started in center field for Team USA. Rasmus ranks No. 1 on this list for the third consecutive year. Rasmus oozes big league talent and exhibits fluid athleticism at the plate and in the field. He has a balanced, potent swing from the left side and his young frame has filled out with strength, which has begun to turn some of his ropes into the gaps into shots launched over the wall. As he showed in big league camp, Rasmus has the plate discipline to be a leadoff man when he arrives in the majors and the extra-base thump to mature into a middle-of-the-order hitter. The same plus speed and instincts he shows on the bases are even more apparent in center field, where he's a defensive standout. His glove is good enough to keep him in the lineup even when he's scuffling at the plate. A standout pitcher in high school, he owns a strong arm. Rasmus called the environment at Memphis "weird" and he struggled to get comfortable with the demands and the competition brought on by his proximity to the majors. Slow starts continue to be a signature, and when he slumps, he becomes pull-happy and hastens his swing, prolonging his difficulties. St. Louis would like him to have more structured off-field workouts, and the rehab for his knee forced that upon him. Once his knee was healthy in September, St. Louis strongly urged him to play winter ball but he declined. Though their relationship may be slightly strained, the Cardinals will make room for Rasmus the moment he shows he's ready. Since they drafted him, he has been the torchbearer for their initiative to renovate their farm system. He should be the first impact position player signed and developed by St. Louis since Albert Pujols. He will return to Triple-A in 2009, if he doesn't break camp with St. Louis, but isn't far away.
As a senior, Rasmus teamed with brother Cory (who became a Braves supplemental first-rounder in 2006) and Kasey Kiker (the Rangers' 2006 first-round pick) to lead Alabama's Russell County High to the national high school championship. Colby broke Bo Jackson's state record for homers with 24 that spring. St. Louis plucked Rasmus with the 28th pick in the 2005 draft and a $1 million signing bonus. When he arrived at his first big league camp in 2007, he found hype waiting for him. That's what comes with being an elite prospect for a franchise that, in the words of farm and scouting director Jeff Luhnow, has been lacking a true No. 1 prospect. Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa privately wondered if the lofty expectations would hamper Rasmus, but that hasn't come close to happening. He blossomed as a bona fide five-tool star in 2007, leading the Double-A Texas League with 93 runs, 29 homers and 69 extra-base hits. Managers voted him the TL's most exciting player and he was the league's No. 1 prospect. He also had a strong showing for Team USA at the World Cup in November. Rasmus has the head-turning ability of a potential big league all-star, and the swagger too. He has a smooth, balanced lefthanded swing that packs plenty of punch. His wiry frame hints some of his doubles are going to be homers by the time he reaches the majors. Disciplined at the plate, he was able to hit in the middle of the Springfield lineup as a 20-year-old. He also excelled as the leadoff hitter for Team USA. His speed and savvy on the basepaths could mean 20-20 seasons for St. Louis. In center field, he jumped from capable to outstanding in 2007. Scouts who once wondered if he would move to a corner spot said he could be an everyday center fielder in the majors and possibly win Gold Gloves. Even when slumping at the plate, he changed games with his range, and he has the strong arm that made him a standout high school pitcher. Rasmus kicked his habit of slow starts in 2007, but he still tended to be streaky. Scouts and coaches see the same thing he does: that he goes through stretches where he becomes too pull-conscious. He has shown more willingness to hit to all fields, but he still can become more consistent. The Cardinals have prevailed upon Rasmus to refine a pregame routine that not only will sculpt his developing strength but help sustain it over a long season. Rasmus is keeping pace with the Cardinals' schedule for him and may speed it up. He's scheduled to open the season at Triple-A Memphis but probably won't need another full season in the minors. "We can expect him to hold up to what everybody expects from him because he has the drive," Springfield manager Pop Warner said. "I know he's the kid who can handle it."
Seeing snow for the third time in his life wasn't the rarest event Rasmus weathered at the start of his first full season in pro baseball. The player with the best blend of tools, upside and instincts in the system opened the year in a bona fide slump. Through his first seven games with low Class A Quad Cities, Rasmus was 2-for-28. But he quickly snapped the cold spell, muscled his way into a promotion and affirmed his reputation as the highest-watt position prospect the Cardinals have had since Albert Pujols. Rasmus has been an elite player for his age group since winning a U.S. championship at the 1999 Little League World Series. His father Tony was an Angels 10th-round pick in January 1986, and coached Russell County High (Seale, Ala.) and Colby, brother Cory (a Braves supplemental first-rounder in 2006) and Kaser Kiker (the Rangers' first-round pick in June) to the national high school title in 2005. After switching from pitching to hitting in high school, Rasmus broke Bo Jackson's Alabama state single-season record with 24 homers. St. Louis drafted Rasmus 28th overall in 2005 and signed him for $1 million. After shaking off his early slump, Rasmus earned a promotion to high Class A Palm Beach and led Cardinals farmhands with 85 RBIs. Rasmus has a balanced, disciplined approach and a loose swing--all signs of burgeoning power potential in his wiry strong frame. Even with quick hands and a penchant for pulling the ball, he has become adept at hitting to all fields. With his speed and instincts on the basepaths, he should be at least a 20-20 threat once he gets to the majors. One of the most athletic players in the system, he's a quality defender. He gets good jumps and covers enough ground to play center field, and his arm is strong enough for right. He was clocked at 91 mph off the mound in high school. At both stops this past season, Rasmus got off to slow starts. The Cardinals weren't alarmed, but they'd like to see him make quicker adjustments. He sometimes hurries his throws, costing him accuracy. He still has plenty of room to grow into his body, and certainly more strength will be required for him to reach his power potential. Coaches have tried to impress upon him the importance of developing and adhering to a pregame routine. The two-year contract Jim Edmonds signed in November was a bridge, connecting the end of his era to the beginning of another. Rasmus should continue the tradition of center field being the franchise's most stable position, as Willie McGee, Ray Lankford and Edmonds have patrolled the middle garden in St. Louis for most of the last 25 years. Rasmus should continue to move steadily through the system, reaching Double-A Springfield at some point in 2007.
Rasmus has a baseball pedigree that stacks up with just about anyone's. His father Tony was a 10th-round draft pick in January 1986 and now is the coach at Russell County High in Alabama, which won the 2005 national championship behind Colby and his younger brother Cory, a premium prospect for the 2006 draft. The Cardinals took Colby 28th overall and signed him for $1 million. Rasmus' tools are average or better across the board, but it's his baseball savvy and desire that make him stand out. He has a sweet lefthanded swing and the ability to put a charge in the ball. He has the arm and speed to play center field, and he's a threat on the bases. Strikeouts were Rasmus' biggest problem in his pro debut as he struggled to recognize offspeed pitches, though he showed the willingness to take a walk. He needs to add strength to his rail-thin frame. He's the best all-around outfield prospect St. Louis has brought in since J.D. Drew. Rasmus will open his first full season at low Class A Quad Cities and could progress quickly.
Minor League Top Prospects
One of the top prospects in the game, Rasmus batted just .214/.313/.345 in the first two months but was starting to come around before straining his groin and later spraining his left knee in July. The injuries ended his season in the PCL and cost him a spot on the U.S. Olympic team. Rasmus creates good leverage in his swing and was able to hit for power even when he wasn't going well at the plate. He has a good eye at the plate and he's an adept basestealer as well. With plus speed, he easily chases balls down in center field, and he complements his range with a strong arm. The tools are all there for Rasmus, and he just needs a little more time to refine them. Noted in the past as both streaky and a slow starter, he took his lumps early as veteran Triple-A pitchers took advantage of his inexperience. But he played all season at 21, so he's well ahead of the normal development path.
Rasmus came into the season as the top prospect in the Cardinals organization, and he simply bolstered that status as a 20-year-old in Double-A for the first time. He was a constant in center field and in the heart of the Springfield lineup all season, showing confidence that belied his age. He also won a semifinal playoff game against Tulsa with an extra-inning homer. Rasmus is a legitimate five-tool player who has the power to bat in the middle of the order (he led the TL with 29 homers and 69 extra-base hits) and also has the skills to bat leadoff if necessary (he topped the league with 93 runs and walked 70 times). He batted first, second and third for Springfield most of the season and should be able to slot into the big league lineup wherever the Cardinals need him. He also was the best defensive outfielder in the league, a legitimate center fielder with good range and a strong, accurate arm. He was streaky at the plate but his defense never slumped.
Rasmus wasn't as dynamic in the FSL as he was in the Midwest League, but his tools stood out in both of his stops. His game is a combination of athleticism and baseball savvy, and while his future is as a position player, he was also a star pitcher who threw 91 mph in high school. He flashes average to plus tools across the board, and his heady approach belies the fact that he was 19 when he was promoted to Palm Beach. Rasmus employs a smooth swing that will allow him to be an above-average hitter for average and power. He struggled in the FSL because he got pull-happy, but he adjusted late in the season and started to take outside pitches to the opposite field. Though Rasmus still needs to improve his jumps to exploit his plus speed, he already is an effective basestealers. He offers plus range and arm strength in center field, but sometimes he gets in too much of a hurry to unload the ball and loses accuracy.
At 6-foot-1 and 175 pounds, Rasmus is the least physical of the outfielders at the top of his list. But he's not lacking for tools by any means. He already hits for power and average, and once his frame adds another 20 or 30 pounds, pitchers will have to duck and cover. He's not quick out of the box, but he's a plus runner underway and should be at least a 20-20 threat in the majors. He also has the ability to pick up extra hits via the bunt. A star two-way player on the 2005 high school national champions, Rasmus has a cannon arm that fits in right field and the range and instincts to play center. Scouts compared him to Steve Finley and Von Hayes.
Rasmus led Russell County High to an Alabama state 5-A championship and the No. 1 ranking in the Baseball America/National High School Baseball Coaches Association poll by hitting .484-24-66. He continued to perform as a pro, impressing Appy League managers with his breadth of tools. His power is developing and his speed helped him rank among the league leaders in runs, triples and steals. "His bat gets to the ball in a hurry and he hung in against lefties," Elizabethton manager Ray Smith said. "His power is gap-to-gap now, but he's toolsy and he'll get stronger." He came on strong in August, when he hit all seven of his homers. He'll need to develop better pitch recognition, as he struck out too much and had trouble against pitchers who could locate offspeed stuff. He has sound defensive instincts and more than enough arm for center field.
Top 100 Rankings
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Defensive Outfielder in the St. Louis Cardinals in 2009
- Rated Best Power Hitter in the St. Louis Cardinals in 2009
- Rated Best Defensive Outfielder in the St. Louis Cardinals in 2008
- Rated Best Athlete in the St. Louis Cardinals in 2008
- Rated Best Power Hitter in the St. Louis Cardinals in 2008
- Rated Best Hitter for Average in the St. Louis Cardinals in 2008
- Rated Best Outfield Arm in the Texas League in 2007
- Rated Best Defensive Outfielder in the Texas League in 2007
- Rated Most Exciting Player in the Texas League in 2007
- Rated Best Hitter for Average in the St. Louis Cardinals in 2007
- Rated Best Hitter for Average in the St. Louis Cardinals in 2006