June 27, 2008

Explain to me why Rasmus hasn't had a real shot at the bigs yet

Never saw Colby Rasmus play. Never even seen him in a highlight. But as I hear, Rasmus, is touted as the Cardinals number one prospect. So what?

Don't care about the hype so much as I'm wondering why he hasn't been called up to the Big Show. Why not? It seems his left-handed bat would've come in handy on several occasions, but the Cards opted to make different moves. Why?

As I'm hearing it, in articles and blogs and web sites expounding about this 21-year old who has done quite well working his way through the minors, his "numbers" have been a bit off this year. But his Memphis manager says Rasmus had hit pretty well, just a lot of "at-em" balls. I've seen this before, where there's a player that creams the all every time and somehow ends with no hits, while another player hits a flare here, gets an unusual hop there, and goes three-for-five, or better. And this can happen for weeks on end. A bit of simple math will tell you that if you replace only half of Rasmus's well-hit outs, he's probably having a great year, just as good as he ever has.

And there's the rub. You have a player like Rasmus in this situation, and his manager knows he's hitting the ball well, and the minor league fans know it, and anyone that can tune into the MLB web sites knows it, but amongst the organizational decision-makers, the final word is that the guy remains in the minors. Why? Because who's going to chance voting him up and chancing that he might lace the ball all over Busch Stadium, but made all outs. It seems like it's possible that no one wants to get saddles with the responsibility of making a wrong decision, even if it's actually the right decision in disguise.

There also seems to be an unreasonable worry about the psyche of a lot of these players in the St. Louis organization as well. It's like: "Oh boy, let's find the most perfect situation to bring this guy in, or that guy in, so there's almost no chance of a tough break, just in case he flips out and can never recover mentally." No, if that's going to happen, it's going to happen, and has more to do with an individuals mental makeup and practically nothing with whether he's put in a game or not, or, brought up to the Bigs or not.

And yes, all this is relevant to Rasmus, because he could, and should, be brought up, as there have been and will be needs for the Cardinals to get a good left-handed swinger in the lineup, or as a pinch-hitter. Believe me, if this kid gets called up, and hits the same kind of line drives directly into the gloves of opposing teams, he's not going to be scarred for life. So if he gets sent back down, as is reasonable as the situation will tend to dictate, he will have a renewed motivation to do well and improve at every opportunity. In short, the up and down road to the Bigs and back is going to make him "hungry."

Case in point: Brendan Ryan.

No one can tell me that guys like Parisi and Mather aren't chomping at the bit to get back to Busch Stadium. And if a player should to hang them up, so be it. He was too fragile anyway, in that case, or maybe just plain right, with a proper assessment of his lack of ability to play on the major league level.

So Colby Rasmus, yeah, he needs a shot. Maybe not at this minute, because Pujols is out and the Cards actually need Duncan to fill, even with his struggling bat. But Pujols will return to the lineup, and depending on the unpredictable situations involving pitching on this team, there will probably come a time when Rasmus makes sense, unlucky line drives or not.

And Rasmus should be called up before the end of summer, because afterward is no big stretch for anyone. In September, half the minors comes to overcrowd the benches.

I say, when needed, Rasmus is ready, if only for a few series, to get his motivations in order for the big leagues. And it wouldn't matter if he'd been up before or not. The point is, he didn't get the call when it counted this season.

Rasmus may not make a big mark when his day comes, but everyone needs to recognize that he needs to get a few days on the job for the sake of his development. Right now, no matter what is said, a guy's going to take the "non-action" by the Cardinals organization in regards to constantly passing him up on call ups as a vote of no confidence.

Hey, if we could wait around for weeks for Schumaker to get his first hit of the year, we can do the same for Rasmus. I believe Rasmus will turn out okay, just like Schumaker did.