2008 Cardinals Prospect #1 – Colby Rasmus

For the Cardinals' top prospect for the second year in a row, the question is not "if", but "when"? The trade of Jim Edmonds opened up a starting spot in St. Louis, but will the 21-year-old be ready come March? Our analysis of the final member of our Top 40 countdown is FREE today.

Scout.com Player Profile (including links to 2007 and career stats)

2007 Ranking: 1

Position: OF

DOB: 8/11/1986

Height: 6-foot-2

Weight: 193

Bats: L

Throws: L

School: Russell County High School (AL)

Became a Cardinal: Selected in the first round (28th overall) of the June, 2005 First-Year Player Draft.

2007 stats

Tm

AVG

AB

R

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BB

SO

SB

OBP

SLG

OPS

SPR

0.275

472

93

130

37

3

29

72

70

108

18

0.381

0.551

0.932

Staff Comments (individual rankings in parens)

Leonda Markee (1): What is left to say about the undisputed best prospect in the Cardinals' system? A five-tool star in the making, Rasmus overcame a significant debilitating sinus infection that impacted his numbers in June and July to end up with a plethora of awards. He was named to both the Texas League's Mid-Season and Post-Season All-Star squads, chosen to play in the All-Star Futures Game, selected as a member of the TOPPS Double-A All-Star squad that encompassed all Double-A players and finally ended the year on the Team USA roster for the IBAF World Cup competition that saw the United States bring home top honors. He was also named as the Texas League's best defensive player.

Now comes the news that the Cardinals' long-time centerfielder, Jim Edmonds, has been traded to the San Diego Padres and that young Mr. Rasmus will be among the competitors battling to succeed him. Does Rasmus have the talent to skip from Double-A to the Majors? Absolutely. Still, I think the Cardinals will be very careful not to overwhelm him and he will more likely begin 2008 at Triple-A Memphis. But Rasmus probably will not be there much past the late-June cut-off for super-two designation, if he remains in Memphis that long.

Dustin Mattison (1): A true five-tool player, Rasmus projects as the heir-apparent to Jim Edmonds in centerfield. While not projected to hit with as much power as Edmonds, Rasmus does have more career minor league home runs in fewer at bats. Playing as a 20-year-old for most of the season, he led all of Double A in home runs and extra base hits.

Rasmus possesses a short fluid swing and great balance at the plate. The organization does want him to work on going the other way and this paid great benefits in August when he hit .359 with 12 home runs in 104 at bats. On the basepaths, Rasmus shows above average speed and instincts that should allow him to steal 20 bases a year in the big leagues.

The part of Colby's game that is big league ready now is his defense. Rasmus possesses a superb arm. One of the Texas League leaders in outfield assists; Rasmus was clocked in the low nineties as a high school pitcher. He has outstanding range and gets tremendous jumps off the bat.

One more thing about Rasmus is his fantastic makeup. After every game that I saw Rasmus play this past summer, he hung around signing autographs until everyone that wanted one got one. I believe that line for Ramus' signature will get longer and longer.

Ray Mileur (1): He's probably the only untouchable player in the Cardinals minor league system. Rasmus is a legit five-tool prospect that is capable of living up to the highest expectations. One of the top ten prospects in the game, Rasmus may be given a chance to play in St. Louis this season now that Edmonds is gone.

The top prospect in the system, he needs to play everyday, so Rasmus will probably start the season at Triple-A Memphis. Regardless of where he starts the season, it's just a matter of time before he's patrolling center field in Busch Stadium for years to come.

Brian Walton (1): At this point, there are no significant questions remaining about Rasmus' considerable baseball skills, only ones about how best to handle him. Among his high 2007 finishes in the entire system were first in OPS (.932) and doubles (37), third in home runs (29) and fourth in stolen bases (18).

So far, the young man has kept his head squarely on his shoulders and his feet on the ground, but the scrutiny and attention will increase exponentially come March in Jupiter, Florida.

I am of the opinion that if Rasmus can play his way onto the major league roster and into the starting lineup, then opening the season with St. Louis will not be too soon for him. However, the unreasonable expectations by some of superstar numbers or even Jim Edmonds-level results out of the chute could unfairly complicate matters. It would not be the end of the world if Rasmus starts in Triple-A and waits for his call until injuries in St. Louis strike.

Key: NR = not ranked, NA = not applicable

To see our entire list of 40 prospects, click here. You can also read each of the voters' philosophies in making their selections.

Tomorrow, we will unveil all our individual lists as well as the top 40 from our community of readers. Following that, we will highlight a handful of deserving players from each of our personal lists that did not make the consolidated Top 40 – our "Best of the Rest", so to speak.



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