Posts Tagged ‘Colby Rasmus’

Starting Nine: National League Central

January 15, 2010

Next up in our Starting Nine series is the National League Central. Outside of the St. Louis Cardinals re-signing Matt Holliday, there haven’t been any big-time offensive additions to this division. As a whole, this might be the weakest offensive division in baseball (yes, even passing the NL West).

Let’s take a look at the starting lineups for all six teams in this division as presently constructed.

St. Louis Cardinals

1. Skip Schumaker, 2B

2. Brendan Ryan, SS

3. Albert Pujols, 1B

4. Matt Holliday, LF

5. Ryan Ludwick, RF

6. Yadier Molina, C

7. Colby Rasmus, CF

8. David Freese, 3B

9. Chris Carpenter, P

Quick Take – Re-signing Holliday was crucial to this lineup. Despite having Holliday and Pujols in the three-four spot, this lineup will only be as dynamic as Rasmus and Freese takes them.

Milwaukee Brewers

1. Rickie Weeks, 2B

2. Alcides Escobar, SS

3. Ryan Braun, LF

4. Prince Fielder, 1B

5. Casey McGehee, 3B

6. Corey Hart, RF

7. Gregg Zaun, C

8. Carlos Gomez, CF

8. Yovani Gallardo, P

Quick Take – The Brewers sacrificed some offense for defense in 2010. This isn’t the powerful Brewers’ lineup of the last couple of years. There are a lot of automatic outs from seven through nine.

Chicago Cubs

1. Alfonso Soriano, LF

2. Kosuke Fukudome, RF

3. Derek Lee, 1B

4. Aramis Ramirez, 3B

5. Marlon Byrd, CF

6. Geovany Soto, C

7. Ryan Theriot, SS

8. Mike Fontenot, 2B

9. Carlos Zambrano, P

Quick Take – This lineup is getting old in a hurry. If Soriano, Ramirez, and Soto can come back from disappointing 2009 seasons, the Cubs could be in business in 2010. However, I still think they are going to be hard pressed to score runs in 2010.

Cincinnati Reds

1. Drew Stubbs, CF

2. Brandon Phillips, 2B

3. Joey Votto, 1B

4. Jay Bruce, RF

5. Scott Rolen, 3B

6. Ramon Hernandez, C

7. Paul Janish, SS

8. Chris Dickerson, LF

9. Bronson Arroyo, P

Quick Take – This lineup looks good for now and even better for the future. If Bruce can stay healthy, he could have a breakout year in 2010. I would like someone better than Janish at SS, but top prospect Todd Frazier isn’t ready to take over just yet.

Houston Astros

1. Michael Bourn, CF

2. Kaz Matsui, 2B

3. Lance Berkman, 1B

4. Carlos Lee, LF

5. Hunter Pence, RF

6. Pedro Feliz, 3B

7. J.R. Towles, C

8. Tommy Manzella, SS

9. Roy Oswalt, P

Quick Take – This six through nine is brutal. It’s hard to have a top offense when the bottom part of your lineup is this bad. Top catching prospect Jason Castro is not too far away, so this is Towles’ last stand with the Astros.

Pittsburgh Pirates

1. Andrew McCutchen, CF

2. Akinori Iwamura, 2B

3. Garrett Jones, 1B

4. Ryan Doumit, C

5. Andy LaRoche, 3B

6. Lastings Milledge, LF

7. Ryan Church, RF

8. Ronny Cedeno, SS

9. Zach Duke, P

Quick Take – I think in order to maximize their offense’s potential, the Pirates will play Jones at first and Church in right instead of playing Jones in right and Jeff Clement at first. The Pirates’ offense will be better in 2010, but will still have a hard time scoring runs on a consistent basis.

Last, but not least, tomorrow we will take a look at the National League West.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg


Cardinals To Go With David Freese At Third Base

January 8, 2010

Instead of going after free agents like Miguel Tejada or Felipe Lopez to play third base for them in 2010, the St. Louis Cardinals will go with an in-house option instead.

In an interview with KSLG 1380 radio in St. Louis, Cardinals’ GM John Mozeliak said the plan right now is to go with David Freese at third base in 2010. These are the type of options you have to go with when you have almost half your payroll tied up into three players (Matt Holliday, Albert Pujols, and Chris Carpenter).

Freese will start for the Cards in 2010

So now that it appears Freese will be given every opportunity to win the Cardinals’ third base job in 2010, lets take a look at just who he is.

Freese was a ninth round pick of the San Diego Padres in 2006 and a year later was traded to the Cardinals for Jim Edmonds (I’ll check that one off as a win for the Cardinals) Edmonds was useless in San Diego and was released in May after only hitting .178 in 26 games.

Freese on the other hand, has impressed at every stop in the minor leagues.

In four minor league seasons, Freese has a career .308 average and a .384 OBP. In 2008 for Triple-A Memphis, Freese hit .306 with 26 home runs and a .910 OPS in 131 games.

That is pretty impressive.

Freese’s 2008 season in Triple-A was so impressive that he earned a spot on the Cardinals’ opening day roster in 2009. Freese however, struggled at the major league level in April hitting only .158 in 22 AB’s.

Freese was sent down and once again tormented Triple-A pitching. In 56 games, Freese hit .300 with 10 home runs. He was called back up in September and hit .583 with a home run in 12 AB’s.

Defensively, based on his minor league stats, Freese should be an above average defensive third baseman in 2010. He also has some experience playing first base if the Cardinals should ever decide to give Pujols a day off.

Going into 2010, Freese ranks fifth amongst the Cardinals’ top-10 prospects according to Baseball America.

In order for the Cardinals to compete at a championship level now and in the future, they need low-cost prospects like Freese, Daryl Jones, and Colby Rasmus to step up and make solid contributions.

Rasmus made a solid contribution to the Cardinals in 2009 by hitting 16 home runs and playing a very solid center field. There is no reason to think Freese can’t follow in Rasmus’ footsteps and make a solid contribution for the Cardinals in 2010.

Freese will go into 2010 as an early National League Rookie of the Year candidate.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Dodgers Win Game Two: Matt Holliday Not The Only One To Blame For Cardinals Loss

October 9, 2009

The St. Louis Cardinals, a team many picked to win the World Series is on the brink of elimination after yesterday’s stunning 3-2 loss at Dodger Stadium.

The Los Angeles Dodgers scored two runs with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to take a commanding 2-0 series lead in their best-of-five series with the Cardinals. The easy target for this loss for the Cardinals is LF Matt Holliday.

Holliday made a crucial error in Game 2

Holliday made a crucial error in Game 2

In case you missed it, the Cardinals were leading 2-1 with two outs and nobody on base in the bottom of the ninth. James Loney hit a routine linedrive to leftfield, but Holliday didn’t see the ball, the ball hit him right in the bread basket and the ball dropped in.

“I didn’t see the ball,” Holliday said. “Obviously, I can catch a ball that’s hit right at me. It’s very difficult to swallow. We had a chance to win the game. It was unfortunate that it happened when it did.”

Holliday’s drop opened the floodgates for the Dodgers and they never looked back. Now it’s going to be easy to blame Holliday for this loss. Afterall, he did make the crucial error in the bottom of the ninth inning.

However, Holliday’s error was just as small piece in yesterday’s puzzle. Remember, even after Holliday’s error, there were still two outs and a runner on second. There was still plenty of opportunities for the Cardinals to get out of that inning with a win.

The reality is the Cardinals are playing bad baseball.

Outside of Adam Wainwright, who has been the only Cardinal to show up in this series, everyone was to blame for this loss.

Let’s talk about the fact that the Cardinals were 0-9 with Runners In Scoring Position yesterday and are just 3-22 for the series.

Someone should tell Brendan Ryan and his stupid mustache that the series started two days ago. He couldn’t get a hit in a big spot if his life depended on it right now.

Let’s talk about Colby Rasmus’ horrific baserunning mistake in the top of the seventh. After Rasmus doubled home Mark DeRosa to give the Cardinals a 2-1 lead, Rasmus, for reasons only known to him tried to advance to third on the throw home.

Rasmus was gunned out at third for the first out of the inning. You can never, ever, ever, ever make the first out at third base–especially in that situation. I thought that was one of the biggest plays of the game.

LaRussa was so upset, it was like someone screamed “last call!!!” at the bar.

Let’s talk about Ryan Franklin, who had the same look on his face as Calvin Schiraldi did in Game Six of the 1986 World Series. You know, that “I would rather be anywhere but here” look on his face.

Let’s talk about Yadier Molina and his pathetic attempt to block a curveball in the dirt in the ninth inning. For a guy who is supposed to be the “best defensive catcher” in the game, that was an inexcusable play.

Bottom line is the Cardinals have done everything that can to give these games to the Dodgers. Now, I don’t want to act like the Dodgers have done nothing in this series. Let’s give credit where credit is due.

Let’s especially give credit to the Dodgers’ bullpen. For the second game in a row they completely shutdown the Cardinals in the late innings. The George Sherrill acquisition is getting better and better with each passing game.

The Dodgers have taken advantage of the opportunities given to them and have taken full advantage of it. That’s why they are up 2-0.

Game Three is Saturday at 6:07. Here is something to chew on Cardinal and Dodger fans. No NL team has come back from a 2-0 deficit in the division series era. It has been done four times in the AL.


Florida Marlins Chris Coghlan Making A Strong Case For NL ROY

September 25, 2009

Over the last 10 years, the Florida Marlins have probably produced more young talent than any team in the major leagues. Josh Beckett, Brad Penny, AJ Burnett, Dontrelle Willis (at the time), Derek Lee, Mike Lowell, Juan Pierre, and Miguel Cabrera all became stars wearing teal and black.

As we all know, because the Marlins have a payroll that hovers around the $55.00 mark, they have not been able to keep any of their star talent. However, just because the Marlins can’t keep their talent (Hanley Ramirez might be the exception), doesn’t mean they have to stop producing talent.

The Marlins’ latest player to eventually-play-for-a-big-market-team — Chris Coghlan. Coghlan, went from so-so prospect to perhaps the favorite for National League Rookie of the Year.

Coghlan is having a great year

Coghlan is having a great year

In case you haven’t noticed, Coghlan leads all major-league rookies in hits (146), runs (75), average (.314), and OBP (.385). Coghlan also leads all of baseball in hits in the second half with 97.

While his defense hasn’t been stellar in leftfield (.980 fielding percentage, -10.3 UZR), you have to take into account that Coghlan played a grand total of one game in left in the minor leagues. Coghlan is a natural second baseman.

If you really think about it, Coghlan has become everything the New York Mets thought Daniel Murphy would be. Coghlan has become as solid hitter, who at least looks the part of a leftfielder.

If I had a vote for NL ROY, I would give it to Coghlan over Dexter Fowler, Colby Rasmus, Garrett Jones, or JA Happ.

Here are some other facts about Coghlan…

Age: 24

College: University of Mississippi

Drafted: 36th pick of the first round of the 2006 draft

Minor League Stats:

2006 Low Single A & Rookie: .297 with zero HR’s, 15 RBI, and a .368 OBP in 30 games.

2007 Single A+ & Single A: .287 with 12 HR’s, 82 RBI, a .378 OBP, and 24 SB’s in 115 games.

2008 Double A: .298 with seven HR’s, 74 RBI, .396 OBP, and 34 SB’s in 132 games.

2009 Triple A: .344 with three HR’s, 22 RBI, a .418 OBP, and nine SB’s in 25 games.

Keith Law Ranking and Analysis

Ranking: N/A

Analysis: N/A


Fantasy Week In Review, July 20-26…

July 27, 2009

It’s Monday, so that means it’s time for a fantasy week in review. Was it me or did it seem like more player went on the DL than normal last week? Every day it seemed like two players were going to miss 15 days.

That being said, here at the fantasy studs, the many players who show reasons for concern, and the potential pickups from the fantasy week of July 20-26.

Fantasy Studs

Justin Morneau – .333/5/11/.455. Leading candidate for the 2010 Paul Molitor Hall of Fame for players who if they played in New York, Boston, or Los Angeles would be superstars induction ceremony.

Jeff Francouer – “Frenchy” is digging his new team. It’s only a matter of time before Francouer hits his toe on his bedpost by accident, the New York Met’s team doctors diagnose him with a stubbed toe, and two weeks later his toe for some reason needs to be amputated.

Carlos Lee – .333/2/10. Anyone else know that Lee has averaged 30 HR’s for his 11 seasons in the majors? I guess that is why he is making $18.5 million this year.

Matt Holliday – .556/2/10 with seven doubles. Whether he is hitting in Oakland or St. Louis, Holliday is red hot right now.

Mark Buehrle – 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA, zero hits, zero walks in 9 IP. The man through a perfect game – enough said.

John Lannon – 1-0 with a 0.53 ERA and give up one run in 17 IP. When you give up just one run in 17 innings, you should have two wins. Such is life playing for the Washington Nationals.

Cliff Lee – 2-0 with a 1.69 ERA and eight K’s in 16 IP. Lee is pitching again like the Cy Young winner he was last season. It’s still possible those were the last two games Lee has pitched in an Indians’ uniform.

Mariano Rivera – Three saves, zero hits, a 0.00 ERA in 2.2 IP. Sometimes you just have to sit back in amazement in regards to how easy Rivera makes pitching look.

Reasons for Concern

John Smoltz – 0-2 with a 10.13 ERA, 18 hits, and 11 K’s in 10.2 IP. While at 42, Smoltz is a great story – it’s just not working in Boston right now.

Smoltz is consistently missing his target and paying for it. The Boston Red will have a serious decision to make once Tim Wakefield and Daisuke Matsuzaka return from the DL.

Ted Lilly – Lilly got smacked around by the Philadelphia Phillies and then went to the DL. Not only does Lilly have a sore left shoulder, but he is also going to have arthroscopic surgery on his left knee. Talk about a double whammy.

Lilly is expected to miss four-to-six weeks.

Lance Berkman – Berkman was placed on the 15-day DL with is strained right calf. Berkman has killed fantasy owners this year.

Berkman hasn’t had a typical Berkman year to date, and then when he gets going – he lands on the DL. The injury doesn’t appear to be too serious as Houston Astros GM said “If we were in late September then our approach might be different.”

Jose Guillen – Not only does Guillen suck, but now he sucks and is on the DL. Sucking and being on the DL is no way to go through life son.

Guillen was placed on the 15-day DL with a partial tear of his lateral collateral ligament in his right knee.

Guillen was only hitting .245 with nine HR’s and 40 RBI, so this should be no big loss.

Colby Rasmus/Rick Ankiel – With the acquisition of OF Matt Holliday and with Ryan Ludwick finding his stroke, there is only one spot left in the Cardinals’ OF for two players.

Ankiel started all three games against the Phillies, but knowing the way Tony LaRussa operates, Rasmus will start all four games against the Los Angeles Dodgers. It will be hard to count on either of them for solid fantasy production for the remainder of the season.

What the heck happened to Ankiel as a hitter? His career as a hitter parallels that of the “Real Sex” series on HBO. Remember when that show first came out? It was great. Hot girls everywhere and it was definitely worth watching without sound so your parents wouldn’t catch you watching it.

Now? That show is awful. All they show is old couples in their 60’s going to some swingers retreat in Arizona. Completely unwatchable.

That is Rick Ankiel. He got off to a great start by hitting .285 with 11 HR’s in 47 games in 2007 and he hit .270 with 20 HR’s in the first-half of the 2008 season.

He has gotten gradually worse since. Now he is hitting .236 with a .290 OBP and is killing any chance of a big contract in the offseason. Just terrible.

Potential Pickups

Michael Saunders – Saunders was the Number two prospects in the Seattle Mariners’ organization according to Baseball America. Prior to his callup, Saunders was hitting .310 with 13 HR’s and 32 RBI in 64. games for Triple-A Tacoma.

If you are in a Keeper League, it might be worth it to consider Saunders. I don’t think the Mariners called him up just to ride the pine.


Handing Out Some Midseason Awards…

July 14, 2009

With the 2009 baseball season officially hitting its halfway point, I think it is time to hand out some midseason awards.

From Randy Johnson’s 300th win, to Zack Greinke’s amazing April, to Albert Pujols’ first half for the ages it’s been a fascinating year so far with some great individual performances. Just like every year, there have been performances that have stood out amongst the pack.

Without any further adiue, here are my first half MVP’s, Cy Young award winners, and Rookie of the Years.

National League ROY

Candidates – JA Happ, Colby Rasmus, Casey McGehee, Randy Wells, Dexter Fowler

My Preseason Pick – Cameron Maybin

Midseason Pick – Colby Rasmus

Rasmus leads all rookies in hits (75), HR (11), and RBI (34). If JA Happ continues to pitch the way he has for the Philadelphia Phillies, he will make a run at winning the NL ROY in the second half.

American League ROY

Candidates – Andrew Bailey, Rick Porcello, Brad Bergesen, Ricky Romero, Nolan Reimold, Elvis Andrus

My Preseaon Pick – Travis Snider

Midseason Pick – Ricky Romero

Romero is 7-3 with a 3.00 ERA in 87 innings for the Toronto Blue Jays. He just beats out Andrew Bailey.

National League Cy Young

Candidates – Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum, Dan Haren, Josh Johnson, Ryan Franklin

My Preseason Pick– Cole Hamels

Midseason Pick – Dan Haren

I originally had Lincecum winning this award, but when you look at the numbers, Haren is having an all-world first half. Haren is third in wins (9), first in ERA (2.01), first in Quality Starts (17), and first in WHIP (0.81).

American League Cy Young

Candidates – Roy Halladay, Justin Verlander, Josh Beckett, Zack Greinke, Felix Hernandez

My Preseaon Pick – Zack Greinke

Midseason Pick – Zack Greinke

Greinke is making me look like a genius with his first half. Greinke is second in wins (10), first in ERA (2.12), first in Quality Starts (15), and second in WHIP (1.08).

National League MVP

Candidates – Albert Pujols, Chase Utley, Adrian Gonzalez, Raul Ibanez, Hanley Ramirez

My Preason Pick – Albert Pujols

Midseason Pick – Albert Pujols

Pujols has a legitimate chance to win the triple crown this year. He heads into the second half fourth in the NL in batting average (.332), first in HR’s (32), first in RBI (87).

American League MVP

Candidates – Jason Bay, Mark Teixeira, Ben Zobrist, Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Torii Hunter

My Preseason Pick – Grady Sizemore

Midseason Pick – Ben Zobrist

While Pujols has been the best player of the first half – Ben Zobrist has been the most “valuable.” Zobrist is second in the AL with a 1.012 OPS, has 17 HR’s, 11 SB’s, and 50 RBI.

All that while playing six positions. Where would the Rays be without him?

Other Awards

NL Manager of the Midseason – Joe Torre

AL Manager of the Midseason – Mike Scioscia

NL Comeback Player of the Midseason – Todd Helton

AL Comeback Player of the Midseason – Russell Branyan

NL Surprise Team of the Midseason – Colorado Rockies

AL Surprise Team of the Midseason – Seattle Mariners

NL Disappointing Team of the Midseason – Chicago Cubs

AL Disappointing Team of the Midseason – Cleveland Indians


Colby Rasmus: Your 2009 NL Rookie Of The Year?

June 19, 2009

Going into 2009, there were a lot of great young hitters expected to compete for the Rookie of the Year award in both leagues. We heard names like Cameron Maybin, Matt Wieters, Gordon Beckham, Travis Snider, Jordan Schafer and Elvis Andrus. But the hitter who is having who is having the best rookie campaign so far for a hitter is St Louis Cardinals’ OF, Colby Rasmus.

Heading into Friday’s action, Rasmus leads all rookies in HR with seven and RBI with 26. He also sports a .272 average and has scored 28 runs in 60 games for the red birds. Rasmus has always been a top prospect for the Cardinals, and now he is getting the opportunity to make an impact at the major league level.



His impact was felt on Wednesday night against the Detroit Tigers. Rasmus went 3-for-4 with a triple and two RBI in the Cardinals’ 4-3 win over the team they defeated in the 2006 World Series. The most impressive thing about Rasmus’ night is that his two RBI’s gave the Cardinals a lead on two separate occasions. That is some solid clutch hitting.

Rasmus, as long as he stays in the lineup (with LaRussa you never know) should get plenty of good pitches to hit, hitting in front of Albert Pujols. If he keeps this up, he might just be your 2009 National League Rookie of the Year.

Here are some other facts about Colby Rasmus…

Age: 22

College: None. Went to Russell County High School in Seale, AL.

Drafted: 28th pick of the first round in the 2005 Draft

Minor League Stats

2005 Rookie Ball: .296 with seven HR, 27 RBI, 13 SB’s and a .362 OBP in 62 games.

2006 Single A: .310 with 11 HR, 50 RBI, 17 SB’s and a .373 OBP in 78 games.

2006 Single A+: .254 with five HR, 35 RBI, 11 SB’s and a .351 OBP in 53 games.

2007 Double A: .275 with 29 HR’s, 72 RBI, 18 SB’s and a .381 OBP in 128 games.

2008 Triple A: .251 with 11 HR, 36 RBI, 15 SB and a .346 OBP in 90 games.

Keith Law Ranking and Analysis

Ranking: No. 12 out of 100 best prospects in baseball

Analysis: “Don’t hurt yourselves jumping off the Colby Rasmus bandwagon, OK? Rasmus played his entire injury-plagued 2008 season in Triple-A at age 21, and by the time he made a few adjustments and started hitting, he hit the disabled list twice and played just five more games before the season ended. (After an 0-for-22 stretch in mid-May, Rasmus hit .336/.444/.517 over 171 plate appearances until he hurt his groin on July 1.)

The scouting report on Rasmus hasn’t changed: He still has quick hands and gets the bat to the ball quickly, projects to have plus power, is an above-average runner, plays a solid center field, has the arm to play right, and shows a generally advanced feel for the game given his age.

He also has a history of good plate discipline and solid contact rates. So, please, before you send him off in endless trade proposals, remind me again what’s not to like here?”


Curious Cardinals Offseason Continues….

February 11, 2009

The Cardinals finished the 2008 season with an 86-76 record, good enough for a 4th place finish in the NL Central. Going into the offseason the Cardinals needs were pretty obvious. Improve the bullpen, improve the starting pitching and perhaps add a bat.

So far the Cardinals biggest offseason move has been the addition of .213 hitting SS Khalil Greene. I am confident in saying that move will not make up the 11 games they need to catch the Cubs. They have not addressed their bullpen which blew a major league high 31 saves last season and outside of Adam Wainwright, the Cardinals starting rotation is made up mainly journey-men such as Kyle Lohse and Joel Pineiro.

I don’t blame the Cardinals for not spending big money this offseason. Besides the Yankees, no team has really broken the bank. However, don’t cry poverty and then release 2B Adam Kennedy only to eat the remaining $4MM left on his contract. Kennedy was released because him and Tony LaRussa didn’t get along. No matter if you are a salesman, a police officer or a major league 2B if you don’t get along with your boss, you are doomed.

Now the Cardinals have a hole at 3B (Glaus is out till May after shoulder surgery) and a hole at 2B. The Cardinals plan on giving OF Skip Schumaker a chance to win the 2B job. This would enable the Cardinals to move Rick Ankiel to RF and put the Cardinals top prospect Colby Rasmus in CF.

While the above plan sounds like an easy fix, I am not so sure. There are a couple of problems with this. 1. Can an OF really move into the IF and play 2B successfully?? Fangraphs doesn’t believe he can and neither do I. Usually it’s the IF moving to the OF (Ryan Braun, Robin Yount) not the other way around and especially not to a middle IF position. Can anyone think of a player who has made the transition from an OF to a middle IF? I can’t. 2. It seems Colby Rasmus has been the Cardinals top prospect for 10 years. He will be 24 in August and at this point it’s either you-know-what or get off the pot. There is only so long you can keep calling someone a “top prospect.” Maybe Rasmus will make the team out of spring training, but if he doesn’t then you have to really wonder if Rasmus will ever make it.

Wouldn’t signing Orlando Hudson for 1 year and $4MM – $5MM be the perfect solution to the Cardinals problems? I know spending close to $9MM combined on 2B is a lot but Hudson gives the Cardinals a gold glove caliber 2B, the #2 hitter they need and would allow Schumaker to play his natural position of OF. If you are not going to improve your bullpen, not improve your starting pitching and are willing to eat $4MM would spending another $4MM-$5MM on a player the caliber of Orlando Hudson really put the Cardinals owner in the poor house?

It has been a very curious offseason for the Cardinals. They haven’t addressed any of their original offseason needs and actually with the loss of both Kennedy and Glaus have more question marks now than they did at the start of the offseason. At this point the Cardinals look more like the 4th place team they were last year rather than a team that can compete for a division title.