Once again its time to look at another sleeper for 2011 fantasy baseball and today we will examine the St. Louis Cardinals’ Colby Rasmus. In my opinion, Rasmus is one of the better sleepers to target in 2011 as I will explain why below. To recap, a fantasy baseball sleeper in my mind is a player who still has room to grow and who stands a great chance to outproducing his draft spot this coming season.
As far as the particulars of Rasmus are concerned, he will be entering into his third season in 2011 as he turns the age of 25. So clearly the kid is still very young and he has at the very least three more seasons of growth in him before he begins to plateau. And what we have seen so far from Rasmus has been very impressive as he went off for 23 home runs and 12 stolen bases while hitting .276 in 2010. There were gains across the board in all of his stats and so it appears Rasmus is right on schedule in his development. The power/speed combo is the gold that we all search for in fantasy baseball drafts and its clears that this guy has the natural ability to get there as soon as this season which that alone makes him one to target.
With all that being said, lets look at his stats a bit deeper in order to identify the stuff he needs to work on. For starters, Rasmus has to continue with the improvement he showed against lefties last season as he raised his average against them from a putrid .160 in 2009 to a solid .270 in 2010. The last thing we want to see is Rasmus turn into the next Curtis Granderson as an upper level hitter who is forced to take a seat when a lefty is one the mound. Another aspect Rasmus absolutely needs to get under control is his strikeouts which were a more than unacceptable 140 last season which was the biggest reason he hit only .276. Even if he cuts it only to the 120 area, his average will likely reach the .285 range which looks a heck of a lot better.
Finally….and this is the biggest issue right now…..Rasmus has got to go into therapy with manager Tony LaRussa as the two of them reportedly were at each other’s throats all season in 2010. It seemed as though LaRussa benched Rasmus more than one reasonably could have expected and the 464 at-bats were a lot less than he should have earned for such solid play. Things got so bad that Rasmus supposedly asked for a trade this offseason which was denied by all parties. Be that as it may, these two need to hash out their differences or else Rasmus could stagnate in his development which would be a loss for all involved.
In closing, I fully expect Rasmus to take yet another step forward in his development for 2011 and there really is not much standing in the way right now as fare as him being able to go 30/20 with a .280 average in 2011. Those are second round numbers and since you likely will be able to get him much later in your draft, Rasmus clearly is a sleeper worth pursuing.
2011 PROJECTION: .280 78 25 HR 65 RBI 15 SB