Rasmus with the Houston Astros
August 11, 1986 |
|April 7, 2009, for the St. Louis Cardinals|
(through 2017 season)
|Runs batted in||490|
Colby Ryan Rasmus (born August 11, 1986) is an American professional baseball outfielder in the Baltimore Orioles organization. He has played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the St. Louis Cardinals, Toronto Blue Jays, Houston Astros and Tampa Bay Rays. He has also played for the United States national baseball team.
Rasmus played as pitcher and first baseman for Phenix City National Little League during the 1999 Little League World Series. Phenix City won the United States championship game, before losing in the finals to Osaka, Japan, 5–0. Rasmus finished the World Series with a batting average of .417 and a pitching record of 0–1 with 7 strikeouts.
Rasmus attended Russell County High School in Seale, Alabama. As a senior, he batted .484 with 24 home runs, 66 RBIs and 69 runs scored in 39 games. His 24 home runs passed Bo Jackson for second all-time in the state for home runs in a season by a high school player. In a pre-draft workout, Rasmus was clocked at 95 mph (153 km/h) throwing from center field. He also ran 60 yards in 6.7 seconds. Rasmus helped lead Russell County to a national championship in 2005 as they finished the season ranked first in both the National High School Baseball Coaches Association poll and the USA TODAY Super 25 baseball rankings. Rasmus graduated from Russell County High School in 2005.
The St. Louis Cardinals selected Rasmus with the 28th pick of the 2005 Major League Baseball Draft. The pick was sent to the Cardinals from the Boston Red Sox in compensation for the Red Sox signing Édgar Rentería in free agency. Rasmus received a $1,000,000 signing bonus from the Cardinals.
Rasmus began the 2006 season with the Swing of the Quad Cities of the Class A Midwest League, and ended his 2006 season, his second in professional baseball, on the Palm Beach Cardinals of the Class A-Advanced Florida State League. Between Quad Cities and Palm Beach, he combined for a .288 average, 16 home runs, 26 doubles, batting .365 with 12 home runs. He won the Player of the Month Award in August.
For the 2007 season, Rasmus was assigned to the Springfield Cardinals of the Texas League, Double-A affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals. The Tulsa Drillers (Double-A) manager, Stu Cole, commented on Rasmus' high level of talent: "If there was a five-tool player in the league last year, Rasmus was the one. He brought everything to the table. And defensively he made more plays to save his team runs. If the ball was in the air there was a chance you were going to see something exciting." Later, he played in the Arizona Fall League during winter of 2007 for Team USA. He batted .286 over six games.
Rasmus was a non-roster invitee to the Cardinals in spring training, 2008 trying to claim a regular spot in the lineup after the Cardinals traded Jim Edmonds on December 15, 2007. On March 17, 2008, the Cardinals assigned Rasmus to the Memphis Redbirds of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League.
St. Louis Cardinals
Rasmus was included in Baseball America's 2009 Top 100 Prospects list as the No. 3 prospect in all of MLB.
On April 3, 2009, Rasmus was named to the opening day roster of the St. Louis Cardinals. He made his major-league debut on April 7 against Pittsburgh at Busch Stadium. He earned his first major league hit in his second career at-bat, on a single to right field off Pittsburgh's Ian Snell. He went 2-for-4 in the game, with two runs scored, including his first career run on a home run by Albert Pujols.
On July 1, he hit his first career walk-off home run off Bob Howry, giving the Cardinals a 2–1 victory over the San Francisco Giants, leading all NL rookies with eight home runs and 29 RBIs. He was the first Cardinals rookie to hit a game-winning home run since Andy Van Slyke in August 1983.
On September 5, 2010, it was reported that Rasmus requested a trade from general manager John Mozeliak because of a shortage of playing time, and a strained relationship with manager Tony La Russa. Rasmus attempted to downplay the rumor and Mozeliak indicated he would not trade Rasmus.
Rasmus hit his first career grand slam against the Cincinnati Reds' Bronson Arroyo. He hit his second grand slam against the San Francisco Giants on an 0–2 slider from reliever Guillermo Mota.
Toronto Blue Jays
On July 27, 2011, Rasmus was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays along with P. J. Walters, Brian Tallet and Trever Miller for Edwin Jackson, Octavio Dotel, Marc Rzepczynski and Corey Patterson. As a Blue Jay, Rasmus finished the season with a .173/.201/.316 triple-slash line in thirty-five games.
In January 2012, Rasmus and the Blue Jays agreed on a one-year deal worth $2.7 million. In an interleague game against the Milwaukee Brewers on June 19, Rasmus hit the first of three straight solo home runs by the Blue Jays, followed by José Bautista and Edwin Encarnación, the first time in the 2012 season that the Jays went back-to-back-to-back with home runs, and only the sixth time in franchise history. Rasmus hit his third career grand slam against the Miami Marlins on June 23, 2012. Rasmus finished his 2012 campaign with a .223 batting average with 23 home runs and 75 runs batted in.
On January 14, 2013, Rasmus signed a one-year contract worth $4.675 million with the Blue Jays, avoiding salary arbitration. Rasmus hit a double against his brother, Cory, in a game against the Atlanta Braves on May 27, 2013. On July 28, 2013, Rasmus hit a walk-off single against the Houston Astros, leading the Blue Jays to a 2–1 victory. Later that day, he was the subject of an article naming him, along with Adam Jones and Mike Trout, as the best active center fielders in baseball. Rasmus recorded his 300th career RBI in a 5–2 win over the Oakland Athletics on July 31, 2013.
On August 2, 2013, Rasmus was named the Blue Jays Player of the Month for July by the Toronto chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America. In July, Rasmus batted .371 with 3 home runs and 17 RBI, and also recorded an OPS of 1.001. Rasmus went on the disabled list for the first time as a Blue Jay on August 14, with an oblique strain. He was activated from the disabled list on September 13. In his first two games back, Rasmus hit two home runs to reach 20 for the season. In doing so, he became the fifth Blue Jay to hit 20 home runs in the 2013 season, and Toronto became the only franchise to have five players reach the 20 home run plateau (Rasmus, Edwin Encarnación, José Bautista, J. P. Arencibia, and Adam Lind).
Rasmus was hit in the face by a ball thrown by Anthony Gose during the warmups prior to the bottom of the first inning in a game against Boston on September 20. He was placed on the disabled list the next day, ending his 2013 season. Rasmus ended his best season as a Blue Jay with a .276 average, 22 home runs, and 66 RBIs in 118 games played.
Rasmus was announced as the Blue Jays' Wilson Defensive Player of the Year on November 7, 2013. In January 2014, he filed for salary arbitration with Toronto, but came to terms on a one-year, $7 million contract on January 17. In a game against the Baltimore Orioles on April 12, 2014, Rasmus hit his 100th career home run with two outs in the ninth inning against Tommy Hunter. He was placed on the disabled list on May 15 with a sore hamstring and missed roughly a month of games. Rasmus experienced a decline in his play from that point onward, and, beginning in late August, was demoted to a bench role in favor of Gose, Kevin Pillar and later Dalton Pompey. He received only one start in September and had a total of 13 at-bats, finishing the season with a .225 batting average, 18 home runs, and 40 RBI. Eligible for free agency for the first time in his career, it was widely speculated that Rasmus would not seek to re-sign with the Blue Jays, nor would Toronto be interested in retaining him.
On January 20, 2015, Rasmus signed a one-year, $8 million contract with the Houston Astros. As an everyday starter for the Astros, he finished the 2015 season with a .238 average, 25 home runs, and 61 RBIs in 137 games played. He batted very well during the last month of the regular season and his success would continue into the postseason. In the 2015 American League Wild Card Game against the New York Yankees, Rasmus hit a solo home run to score the first run of an eventual 3-0 win that advanced the Astros to the 2015 American League Division Series (ALDS). He also homered in each of the first two games of the ALDS. In the process, he set an MLB record for having an extra-base hit in each of his first six career postseason games, dating back to his tenure with the Cardinals.  The Astros went on to lose the series and Rasmus finished the playoffs leading his team in nearly every offensive category. He batted 7 for 17 (.412 average) along with 4 HRs, 6 RBIs, 7 BBs, and an OPS of 1.760.
Tampa Bay Rays
On July 13, Rasmus announced that he was taking a "leave of absence" from Major League Baseball. In response, the Rays released a statement saying that they "...fully support Colby's decision..." and they will "...respect...the privacy of Colby and his family...", offering no further comment. Following this, they placed him on the restricted list.
Rasmus is married (Megan) with two daughters (Rylee and Teegan). Rasmus has three brothers, Cory, Casey and Cyle. Cory is a pitcher who is currently a free agent, and Casey was a catcher in the St. Louis Cardinals' organization. Casey retired in 2014.
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