The Toronto Blue Jays 2013 expectations are filled with optimism and visions of playoff grandeur entering spring training. However, if the Blue Jays are going to succeed, they will need consistent production from center fielder Colby Rasmus.
Rasmus has five-tool capabilities, but his aloof nature and inconsistent play have the baseball jury searching for a verdict. The 26-year has shown glimpses of his talent with his silky smooth swing and graceful routes in the outfield since being acquired by the Jays in 2011 from the St. Louis Cardinals.
In 2012 Rasmus tied his career in home runs with 23 and eclipsed his previous best runs batted in total, notching 75 for the injury-riddled Blue Jays.
However, where there is a positive, there is always a negative and that came in the form of strikeouts. Rasmus managed to set a personal best in strikeouts with 149 good for a strikeout percentage of 23.8%. The only Blue Jay player with more was second baseman Kelly Johnson, who tied a Blue Jays franchise record with 159 whiffs.
The 26-year old’s best season came in 2010, when he hit to a tune of .276 AVG, .859 OPS with 23 home runs, 66 runs batted in during a 3.5 WAR year.
In analyzing his 2012 production with that from his career year in 2010 there are some glaring concerns:
Rasmus hit .182 with three home runs against left handed pitching.
Rasmus hit .176 with six home runs in the entire second half of the season.
Rasmus hit .194 on all fly balls he connected with.
Rasmus hit .337 with 21 home runs on balls he pulled.
Rasmus hit .132 with one home run when facing a 3-2 count.
Rasmus hit .270 with four home runs against left handed pitching.
Rasmus hit .265 with seven home runs in the entire second half of the season.
Rasmus hit .318 on all fly balls he connected with.
Rasmus hit .460 with 17 home runs on balls he pulled.
Rasmus hit .213 with four home runs when facing a 3-2 count.
If Rasmus is going to achieve elite player status, he needs to cut down on his strikeout total and be more selective with pitch selection, especially against tough left-handed pitching.
The pressure will quickly mount on Rasmus if rookie phenomenon Anthony Gose gets off to a quick start in Buffalo, and begins to challenge for major league playing time.
Regardless, Rasmus will be the opening day starter in center field now it is up to him whether he will boom or bust.