2008 ranking: #1
School: Russell County High School, Alabama
Became a Cardinal: Selected in the first round (28th overall) of the June, 2005 First-Year Player Draft.
Selected 2008 stats
Staff comments (individual rankings in parens)
Dustin Mattison (1): What else is there to say about the Cardinals' top prospect? After starting slowly, Rasmus was looking strong before a knee injury ended his season. Not only was he lost at Memphis for the rest of 2008 but was unable to go to China to play on the Team USA in the Olympics.
In recent comments from Cardinals manager Tony La Russa, it appears that he will be given every opportunity to play himself on to the 2009 Major League team. The Cardinals outfield looks crowded but none appear to offer the upside of Rasmus. Even if he does not make the team out of spring training, the 22-year-old will make his big league debut sooner rather than later.
Ray Mileur (1): Rasmus wasn't happy at Memphis and it showed. It didn't help he suffered a knee injury that cost him significant playing time as well, missing out of the Team USA games in the Olympics. Rasmus played in 96 games this season including six games on a rehab assignment. He finished with a .252 batting average with 12 home runs and 38 RBIs in 349 at-bats. Not the kind of numbers you would associate with an organization's top prospect. Rasmus is a legit five-tool player that you don't have to be around him very long and watch him play to have any doubt that he'll soon be playing in the majors. The Cardinals are trying to move an outfielder to get a starting pitcher or some help in the bullpen. A move of an outfielder will open the door for Rasmus to begin playing in St. Louis on opening day. More than likely, he'll start the season at Triple-A Memphis, but if I was him, I'd make sure I had call-waiting; he's likely to get the call from Cardinals general manager, John Mozeliak before the All-Star break and will make his major league debut in 2009.
Message board community (1): Colby´s 2008 season was the worst of his short career. Cardinal fans and observers are debating whether it was an aberration or whether Colby has been overrated. The general consensus seems to be it was an aberration. Cardinal fans can only hope so as there appears to be both a real and an emotional investment by Cardinal fans in Colby's development and potential to emerge as the Cardinals' next superstar.
Colby's 2008 was marked by a sharp decline in his line drive rate and a significant decline in power. The power decline may have something to do with Rasmus appearing at the Winter Warm-up last weekend with 15 additional pounds of muscle. The encouraging news from last year was that Rasmus was able to maintain his typically high OBP even while struggling.
There is much debate about when Colby will see St. Louis. Some believe he will break camp with the Cards in the spring while others think it may not happen until next September. I believe Colby´s St. Louis time table will determined for the most part by injuries to the other outfield candidates already in St. Louis. But as injuries seem to be inevitable, it will just be a matter of time before Colby gets a call up. - CariocaCardinal
Brian Walton (1): This is three in a row at the top of this list for Rasmus, but I believe the run is done. Despite what his unrealistic and pessimistic Dad says on our message board, there seems little doubt that Rasmus will get enough at-bats in the majors this coming season to exhaust his rookie eligibility.
In terms of how best to close off this article and countdown, I turn to Cardinals Director of Minor League Operations John Vuch to speak for all of us.
"Last year was a bit of a learning experience for Colby, but he had really begun to make the adjustments offensively and was swinging the bat very well for over a month when he suffered his injury.
"I think his offense has always been the part of his game that has received the most attention, but he's really developed into a quality center fielder with good range, sure hands and a strong, accurate arm. He's always had good speed, and utilizes it well on the bases. With that in mind, Colby has a very good chance to be a well-above average major league player in all aspects of the game," said Vuch.
Couldn't have said it better myself. Thanks, John.
To see our entire list of 40 prospects, click here. You can also read each of the voters' philosophies in making their selections.
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