The Astros picked up Colby Rasmus immediately after trading Dexter Fowler to the Cubs this offseason to secure some extra depth in the outfield. His addition to the roster has complicated things in Kissimmee this spring, but in a good way. Jake Marisnick, Robbie Grossman and Alex Presley are on the bubble to be included on the 25-man roster, with Marisnick and Grossman shining thus far in camp. But this isn’t about the roster battle–there’s been plenty of talk about that. Instead, we’ll talk about the Astros’ new addition, and his interesting stat line this spring.
Rasmus is hitting just .238, which is slightly below his .246 career average, but his on-base percentage is through the roof at .484 in 21 at-bats. In those at-bats, the 28-year old outfielder is 5-for-21 with two home runs, five rbi, and five runs. What’s intriguing is that he has walked nine times, inflating his OBP, but has struck out in only four trips to the plate. This is far from the norm for him.
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Last season in 346 at-bats, Colby Rasmus walked 29 times and struck out on 124 occasions, for a rate a 35.8 percent. Yes, this is an especially small sample size, but to have just twenty fewer walks than last season’s total in 325 fewer at-bats is a large, noticeable increase to his walk rate. Perhaps Rasmus is working on a new approach at the plate?
Let’s go with what we know right now. He’s facing Triple-A talent according to Baseball-Reference, which could lead to some location issues from opposing pitchers. To be overly optimistic, let’s speculate just a tad. Rasmus is a Luhnow guy, being drafted by the Astros’ GM with he was a member of the Cardinals. Now they’ve reunited, and perhaps there’s a comfort level with Houston that he never felt in Toronto.
To take that a step further, Rasmus is on a one-year make-or-break deal, so the Astros will be getting everything that’s in his tank in 2015. With his stat line this spring, it’s reasonable to be cautiously optimistic regarding Colby Rasmus as we near opening day.
If he can continue to work walks, provide some power, and hit for his career average (.246), then the Astros will be receiving every bit of value from the $8M contract Rasmus signed in the offseason.