July 14, 2016

Colby Rasmus is extreme

by Daniel Conmy

When I think extreme, I think of those people jumping off of mountains in those flying suit things.
(Courtesy of Industry Tap)
Yup, that's it. That is something that many people would label as an intense activity. Will I ever do it? Probably not because I don't have a desire to go very fast and possibly die by not properly flying this confusing invention of mankind. What I would do if I had the chance is be an extreme hitter in the Major Leagues.

Unfortunately for some, I will not be indulging into the extraordinary aspect of wing suit flight. For others, that's probably a good thing because I have no formal understanding of these suits. Instead, we will be talking about a Houston Astros outfielder and his extreme tendencies on the baseball field.

I'm sure you could have figured out the individual that this article is written about by simply reading the title line. Colby Rasmus is our subject and he does something more than any other baseball player this year. That is pulling the ball. 

Rasmus pulls the ball 55.1 percent of the time he makes contact on a ball in play. That is an absurd amount of pulled balls. So, lets see his spray chart.

Obviously a big thank you to the FanGraphs spray chart. Rasmus pulls the ball a lot and he makes a lot of outs on the ground and this is a huge problem given his past ability to put the ball in the air. Let's look at this years spray chart compared to what he has done in his past seasons.

Season LD% GB% FB%
2009 19.6% 34.7% 45.7%
2010 19.4% 32.0% 48.6%
2011 16.5% 35.8% 47.7%
2012 20.1% 37.6% 42.2%
2013 22.0% 33.0% 45.0%
2014 23.3% 34.2% 42.5%
2015 20.0% 28.4% 51.6%
2016 24.4% 36.7% 38.9%

From the data, we see a considerable increase in groundballs from last year to this year. The grounball percentage is actually quite close to his averages in the six years prior, but Rasmus was able to pull the ball in the air last year more than he has ever done. Since that was the case, Rasmus hit 25 home runs, a career high, and was worth a modest 2.5 WAR given his ability to launch the ball into the seats and play good defense. This year, we are seeing Rasmus' worst season in terms of putting the ball in the air, 

While Rasmus is not a liability and is a very short investment given that he accepted the qualifying offer, there is always the reason to want more. It might be that 2015 was more of an anomaly and not something that can be replicated. 

The Houston Astros have a positive asset in Rasmus who is pulling the ball more than ever, but he is doing it on the ground at the highest rate in his career. If Rasmus can put some air under the ball again, like in 2015, he can set himself up for a modest payday on the open market next year.

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