So, it's May 4. Rasmus has been a major leaguer for just about a month, after three years of being the lead story on Future Redbirds. ESPN's predicted stats—it hurts me to link to ESPN.com, one of the most bloated websites this side of MySpace, but their predicted stats do a pretty good job of illustrating how well La Russa's platoon has gone, at least as far as its stated goal—damn the torpedoes, at-bats for everybody—goes. 157 games? 495 at-bats? Sure.
How's the experiment gone, though? Well, I'm glad he hit that home run. Where he is right now—take a look—
—I think a 7/10 is in order. The calls to bench Ankiel are premature, given their offensive proximity to one-another even after all the he-looks-lost hubbub, and his gaudy fielding numbers (no matter how good he is, he isn't going to finish the season three wins above the average outfielder) are in for some regression, but he's maintained his plate discipline and the power's starting to come. I'll take it.
The way he's started, it's easy to forget that he was a fair candidate for an early season collapse; his 2008 was only impressive inasmuch as it came right after his outstanding 2007 campaign, and he's a famously slow starter with low-average tendencies, a class of player that tends to look even worse than they are when they're slumping.
But Rasmus has gotten off to a passable, if definitely quiet, start to his rookie campaign. His strikeout rate remaining stable across three levels, ever since his AA breakout year, is definitely a good sign, and I've got to imagine the power is coming.Gotta like that home run swing, too; he's got a little bit of the Larry Walker follow-through.
While we're on the subject of prospects, and given the post rain-delay paucity of major league stuff to talk about, I thought I'd take an informal survey of our VEB prospect-watching habits.
Allow me to start: those of you who've followed me for a while--especially back on Get Up, Baby!, where, in the pre-Future Redbirds days, I used to follow prospects more closely than I do now, know I have an idiosyncratic way of becoming attached to, and subsequently following, prospects. Which is to say that I have no standards for performance. If I like a guy--if the early scouting reports excite me, if he has one skill that impresses instead of a broad, average base--I will ride his bandwagon all the way off the cliff.
So I'd like to ask you, the VEBers, if you have any non-prospects you'll follow to the bitter end. For me, it's a motley collection of tools goofs--Tommy Pham, Jon Edwards,
Daryl Jones--ex-prospects--Blake Hawksworth, et al--and interesting stories--Gary Daley, et al. Jones is the exception that proves the rule, inasmuch as ninety percent of these guys turn into nothing, but it gives me something to watch for in the box scores. I'll try to get Chuck and the red baron to come clean on Their Guys, too; maybe we can make a recurring feature of it.
Baseball tonight, hopefully: Kyle Lohse against Joe Blanton, who has what might be the worst MLB.com photo in a long history of bad MLB.com photos. Stay tuned.