Future stars, current disappointments 

July, 19, 2011
Corey Patterson, Raul Ibanez, Nate Schierholtz and Emilio Bonifacio are all among the 50-plus outfielders performing better than St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Colby Rasmus on the ESPN Player Rater. No, it's actually true. Rasmus was a topic of discussion on Tuesday's Baseball Today podcast for Keith Law and myself, discussing the degree to which the 24-year-old is underachieving and whether a change of scenery is what he needs. I hadn't realized how disappointing Rasmus had been, with a mere five stolen bases and a poor .241 batting average.

[+] EnlargeRasmus
Kim Klement/US PresswireColby Rasmus hit just .213 in June, and he's batting .122 in July.
It's easier for me to buy into the theory that pitchers occasionally need a different team to play for, as they might clash with a pitching coach/manager or just can't handle either their league or the home ballpark. Happens quite a bit, in fact. With hitters, I don't think it's as much of a factor, but in the case of Rasmus, it does appear that a burgeoning young star is certainly taking his time on the road to stardom. Perhaps a trade to the Tampa Bay Rays really would improve things and make Rasmus the top-20 outfielder many perceive he will become. Really, he should be hitting 30 home runs and stealing 20 bases.

From a fantasy aspect, Rasmus is one of those fellows we reach for in drafts or spend too much for in trades every season -- admit it, we do -- because we think that at some point, our lottery ticket will be cashed. Rasmus hit 23 home runs a season ago and stole 12 bases, and there's nothing wrong with a .276 batting average. Oddly, the ESPN Fantasy projections seemed to peg Rasmus as taking a minor step backward, except in home runs -- lower batting average, fewer RBIs and stolen bases -- and so far that looks prescient.