After a down year, Colby Rasmus’s fantasy draft vaue has dropped drastically. Last year, he was going somewhere near the eighth or ninth round. This year, Rasmus is going in round 17, with an ADP of 207.3. Both Vernon Wells and Carlos Lee have better ADPs than Rasmus, which should simply not be the case. Regardless, the significant drop in Rasmus’s draft position is well deserved. He had an on base percentage below .300 last year, and his only useful fantasy stat was his 14 long balls, nine fewer than he hit in 2011.
One positive to look at when evaluating and projecting Rasmus is his xBABIP. While his actual BABIP sat at .267, his xBABIP was .296. That mark is in line with his career .298 BABIP, though it is significantly lower than the .354 of 2010. It is certainly plausible to say that his .276 average in 2010 was at least partially due to good fortune, which is probably an understatement.
Another positive is that Rasmus is still young. At age 25, he is in the peak of his power potential, according to the study Eno Sarris published earlier this year. With that said, Toronto has a 114 home run factor (100 being average) for left-handed hitters, according to StatCorner. Rasmus had an awful line of .173/.201/.316 in his 140 plate appearances with Toronto last year, but I like his odds to rebound due to his age, the new park, and better luck than he had last year. His average will likely never be much higher than .260 unless he sees the type of luck with balls in play that he had in 2010, but his power numbers can still improve.
Strikeouts were a reason to be cautious in drafting Rasmus last year, but he managed to cut them down by 5% despite the awful season. Fewer strikeouts came with fewer walks, though he maintained his 2010 strikeout-to-walk rate of 0.43. That is right around last season’s league average of 0.44, so much of Rasmus’ poor season can be attributed to the low BABIP and not plate discipline issues. Before his move to Toronto, Rasmus actually had a stellar K/BB rate of 0.58, but he lost all semblance of said discipline after the trade, posting a mark of just 0.13.
If you are looking at an outfielder in the late rounds and have the option to go after a player of Rasmus’ age, who is coming off a career worst year and looks like he ran into some bad luck, you have to make him a target. Players with the type of upside that Rasmus has seldom linger in such late rounds, and if Rasmus reverts close to 2010 form then the value received that late would be a huge boost to any team. There is risk involved with Rasmus, but look for him to bounce back and perform well in his first full season in the American League.