Note of the night: Colby Rasmus leads the National League in on-base percentage and slugging percentage, while playing one of the most demanding positions on the field and playing it well. Up until Wednesday, the only mark against him was an 0-for against left-handed pitching, and now he has erased that. Both of Rasmus’ hits on Wednesday came against lefties.
What may stand out most about Rasmus in the early going, though, is that he’s hitting .322. For all his broad-based skill set — power, plate discipline, speed, defense — he’s never really been a high-average hitter. Aside from three games on a rehab assignment in the Gulf Coast League, he hit over .300 exactly once in the Minors: .310 in 78 games at low Class A Quad Cities.
Batting average tends to be a bit of a fluky number, subject to a lot of wild swings, and of course it’s also overrated as a measure of player ability. But it’s still something of a skill, and it’s a skill that is magnified when a hitter has other skills. Hit .250 with power and patience and you’re a valuable player. Hit .310 with power and patience and you’re a major star, especially if you’re a plus defender in CF.
I asked TLR about it tonight, and he said he definitely thinks that Rasmus can be a high-average hitter.
“Absolutely,” he said. “Last year, remember, he got sick. He had a decent year going — a good year going — and he just got weak and he had to get through that. Now he’s stronger. The bases on balls are a good indication. He’s seeing the ball better. He’s got a lot of hunger, that hitter-ish hungry feeling when he goes to the plate, wants to keep having at-bats. Yeah, he’s definitely a high-average hitter.”
Stat of the day: Cardinals starters have not allowed a home run since April 11. That’s a span of 15 starts covering 103 innings.
Fun with double situational splits: When Rasmus leads off an inning against a right-handed pitcher this year, he’s 7-for-18 with five walks and six extra-base hits. That’s good for a .389 average, a .556 on-base percentage and a 1.056 slugging percentage.
And, finally, the playlist:
The Heavy, “How You Like Me Now”
Lucero, “Sixes and Sevens”
Cage the Elephant, “Back Against the Wall”
Crash Kings, “Mountain Man”
Them Crooked Vultures, “New Fang”