That is the situation Colby Rasmus, now 20 years old, created for himself by having played the game of baseball better than pretty much anyone else for a long time now.
Back in August of 1999, Rasmus and his Phenix City, Alabama teammates fought all the way to the championship game of the Little League World Series before falling to the Far East representative from Japan. The next day, the youngster found himself standing on the mound at the "House that Ruth Built" talking with fellow left-hander Andy Pettitte.
Fast forward to the summer of 2005. Then 18, Rasmus was drafted in the first round, 28th overall, in the First-Year Player Draft by the St. Louis Cardinals. He cashed a seven-figure signing bonus before justifying all that money on the field with his standout play. The five-tool centerfielder is currently considered the top prospect in the Cardinals organization.
The 6-foot-1, (now) 195-pounder is busy preparing for his second full season as a professional and third overall. Rasmus finished up the 2006 season leading the entire Cardinals minor league system in RBI with 85 and stroked 16 home runs, 26 doubles, eight triples and swiped 28 bases in 36 attempts. He put up a .288/.364/.470 line between Single-A Quad Cities and High-A Palm Beach.
Before undertaking his vigorous daily off-season workout regimen one recent afternoon, Rasmus discussed his 2006 season, his growth as a player, his recent adjustments and his goals for 2007 in this exclusive audio interview.
Who knows? Perhaps in 2008 or so, Rasmus just might meet Pettitte again on a Major League field of play in an entirely different scenario and eventually compete in another, even bigger World Series.
Brian Walton can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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