Alex Anthopoulos continues to mystify and impress the Toronto Blue Jays fan base and I think his latest acquisition of prized outfielder Colby Rasmus helps remind us all that we have one of the best minds in baseball at the helm. I am almost starting to worry that other GMs will simply stop dealing with Alex and the Jays with the worry they may be getting fleeced.
Kind of strange that Zach Stewart has never set foot in AAA to play for Las Vegas in the ultimate offensive environment isn’t it? Stewart at 25 is a dinosaur (in prospect years) and probably one of the oldest players in that league and putting up very pedestrian numbers to boot. Anthopoulos and the Jays knew if he played the whole season in Vegas his stats would likely look terrible and either kill his waning confidence even more or worse, destroy any remaining trade value he might have had.
Keith Law is an excellent talent evaluator and a great baseball writer but I have never understood his fascination with Stewart, whom he still claims is a great prospect in the Jays organization. I disagreed vehemently via twitter with the rationale he was an aged, overrated and underwhelming talent likely destined for the bullpen at some point and let’s just say he didn’t agree, at all.
Not to beat a dead horse but seriously 25 years old, still in AA and not even dominating much younger competition? He flashed a 90 MPH fastball in his brief MLB cameo and through 94 IPs in AA has a 7.06 K/9, .283 BAA, 1.41 WHIP and a 3.35 FIP. Not horrific but nothing that jumps out at you screaming ‘stud’ and certainly nobody considered untouchable if a Colby Rasmus could be acquired.
Colby Rasmus is a 24-year old CF with a boatload of potential and has a pretty impressive MLB resume already as well. He was ranked the 41st most valuable trade asset in baseball by Fangraphs (yeah, a pretty reliable source) and was ahead of such names as Robinson Cano, Jacoby Ellsbury and Matt Wieters.
So to recap we traded a bullpen arm in Jason Frasor, a 25-year old pitching “prospect” in Zach Stewart and a good young lefty (but a reliever currently) in Mark Rzepczynski and we received a top 50 MLB asset in CF Colby Rasmus? Right, next you are going to tell me somebody took Vernon Wells’ and Alex Rios entire contracts, gave us Yunel Escobar for Alex Gonzalez and we were able to sign the best hitter in baseball to a below-market contract that saved us around $100 million total dollars.
That’s not say Rasmus is not without warts given his long time ‘feud’ with the guru Tony LaRussa and relative step back stats wise in 2011 he still has a lot to prove. He is currently slashing 246/332/420 with 11 HRs – good for a .332 wOBA. He has maintained his great patience (11.7 BB%) and cut down his strikeouts dramatically (19.9 K%) and still has a decent .175 ISO (isolated slugging).
Defensively he won’t be confused with Austin Jackson in CF and UZR has never been a huge fan of his as witnessed by his -7.1 UZR rating in over 2800 IPs in centre. His best tool is the bat and if he can continue to show good patience and an improving eye while maintaining (or adding) to his fairly impressive power stroke he could be a real boost to an already impressive Blue Jays line-up and a great left handed bat to go with the big righty Jose Bautista.
He will likely man centre until prospect Anthony Gose proves he can hack it in the big league offensively, Gose is supposed to be a plus defender with great speed. Colby Rasmus is young and was ranked as the 3rd best prospect in baseball in 2009 by Baseball America and will remain relatively cheap until 2014 though he is heading for arbitration at the end of this season and will see a decent raise.
As per Fangraphs here is how the massive three team trade worked out:
The biggest minus to the trade is losing Mark Rzepczynski who has shown to be a more than capable relief pitcher while still having the potential to one day join the Blue Jays rotation. My condolences go out to ‘Scrabbles’ biggest stalker fan Drew Fairservice at Ghostrunner on First.
Sorry dude, but you have to give to get!