Colby Rasmus Is Earning His Keep With The Houston Astros


During the flurry of offseason moves for Jeff Luhnow and the Houston Astros, the team signed controversial (i.e., attitude) outfielder Colby Rasmus to a one-year deal worth $8 million.

At the time, Astros fans were confused as to how Rasmus would contribute to the team, considering that a) he was coming off a down year with the Toronto Blue Jays, b) the Astros already had some cheap, young, quality outfielders, and c) the team just traded for Evan Gattis.  All things considered, it seemed like an odd move.

Odd move or not, Rasmus is living up to expectations though one could argue that he’s the most overlooked/under-appreciated player on the team. Jose Altuve and George Springer, and now Carlos Correa, are sharing the limelight. Many fans have grimaced over Chris Carter‘s and Evan Gattis’ slow starts, thus leaving the flowing locks from southeastern Alabama to go about his business seemingly unnoticed.

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Well, Colby Rasmus’ time has come. Some people say there is a youth movement going on, and he’s blocking guys like Preston Tucker and Domingo Santana from realizing their full potential. Others are also starting to wonder if he’s really worth the $8M. To that I say, yes he’s worth $8M, and no, he isn’t blocking anyone. It is quite the opposite, in fact.

There are a few things to consider when you think about Rasmus’ worth. The first of which is his career numbers. Sure, he had a terrible 2014 with Toronto. But to date in 2015, Rasmus is actually on pace to beat or come close to his career averages. His career slash line is .246/.314/.442, and this year he’s hitting .249/.319/.492. Career OPS+ is 105; 2015 is 127. He’s on pace to get 103 hits, 30 doubles, 22 home runs, 56 runs batted in and 44 walks. Not bad.

One must also mull over how this compares to his career highs. In his six previous seasons, Rasmus has hit 22 or more home runs three times in his career, with 23 in 2012 as his most in a season. His career high in doubles is 28 in 2010. He’s taken 45 or more base on balls four times, with the most being 63 in 2010. And as for driving runs in, he’s batted in more than 56 three times, with 75 as a career high in 2012. Of course, the season isn’t over, but the projections put him in range of some of these numbers.

Another thing to consider is his contract in comparison to other offseason free agent left fielders. Prior to this season, guys like Marlon Byrd ($8M), Melky Cabrera ($13M), and Michael Cuddyer ($8.5M) all signed with new teams. Let’s see how their numbers stack up against #28’s:

Rasmus is outperforming many of his peers, including those guys who are earning as much or more money than he is this year. Looks like Luhnow pursued the right guy.

My final case in point about Colby Rasmus is his rank among the Houston Astros hitters. Here’s where he stands on a baseball club that is chock full of free-swinging sluggers:

  • 3rd in BA/4th in OBP/1st in SLG
  • 2nd in OPS +
  • 5th in Hits (tied with Luis Valbuena)
  • 1st in doubles (tied with Springer)
  • 5th in home runs
  • 4th in walks

Thus, it is hard to argue that Colby Rasmus isn’t earning his keep. He’s besting many of peers and he’s leading his team in several statistical categories. Clearly, Rasmus is holding the line and doing his job. He’s proving Jeff Luhnow right and is doing exactly what is expected of him. So don’t doubt his value to this club- the Astros are getting their money’s worth.

Next: Luis Valbuena: Frustrating or Amazing?

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