Top pick Colby Rasmus is expected to play for the Swing of Quad Cities, the St. Louis Cardinals, low Class A affiliate, when spring training camp breaks this weekend.
Rasmus, 19, was the Cardinals' first selection in the 2005 draft, taken 28th overall out of Russell County High School in Alabama, where he was coached by his father, a former pro ballplayer, and played with his younger brother Cory. Coach Tony and his two sons have stuck together through the years and boast a history of winning. Their Phenix City, Alabama little league team won the United States bracket in 1999, and two years later they won the Dixie League national championship.
In 2005 for Russell County, Colby hit .424 with 24 home runs (the second highest single-season total in state history), also pitching occasionally while leading the school to a 38-1 record and the national championship. The left-handed outfielder proceeded to hit .296 in his pro debut with Johnson City, including 16 doubles, seven home runs, 13 stolen bases and 47 runs scored (4th in the Appalachian League) over 62 games. That performance led to his being labeled by
The Birdhouse, the Scout.com, St. Louis Cardinals website, in association with Fox Sports, recently ranked Rasmus as the #7 prospect in the organization.
Leonda Markee, a minor league editor for www.stlcardinals.scout.com had these comments about the Top Pick, "Rasmus had an excellent debut season as a professional. He went .296/.362/.514/.876 in 216 at bats. He led the team in slugging, doubles (16), triples (5), home runs (7) and tied for the lead with twelve stolen bases, thereby demonstrating good power and speed for one so young. He was charged with only four errors. Baseball America named Rasmus as the second-best prospect in the Appalachian League and the Cardinals' second-best prospect. Baseball HQ also ranked Rasmus at #2 in the Cardinals' system. I ranked him a bit lower due to the park in which he played (it has the nickname "Coors Field of the Appy League") and his lack of plate discipline. Rasmus whiffed seventy-three times for a 1:2.96 K/AB ratio. Still, he has a very bright future."
Senior editor, Brian Walton added, "The Cards' top selection in 2005 (28th overall) is still just 19. Scouts and fans alike rave about his combination of athleticism and power. Rasmus did strike out over one third of the time at Johnson City, so he obviously needs to work on that. But, there is hope that the Cardinals have a future starter on their hands with Rasmus. Despite him hitting .296 at JC, Baseball America named Rasmus as the "Best Hitter for Average" in the system based on his tools."
Rasmus, possesses the athleticism and speed that contributes to these early high rankings. He has power to all fields and covers the plate well and makes good contact and should hit for average. He has a very good arm and good develop into a good right fielder at the major league level but remember for now he's just 19.
Swing of Quad Cities fans will have an opportunity to see one of the Cardinals' highest rated position players in years, this season play for them.
I'm very reluctant to compare him to J.D. Drew, as Baseball America did, but Rasmus has a very bright future.
How fast will he rise through the ranks? I would submit, any expectations of him playing at a higher level than, Quad Cities later this season, is unrealistic at this time in my opinion.