It’s time to start my annual Wild Predictions. For new readers this is something I’ve done for the past few years. As you read these columns (there will be 30 predictions in total), keep in mind that they are not my actual projections. Instead they are things that I believe have a chance of happening, though less than 20% of the time.
With that said, let’s take a look at my first prediction:
Colby Rasmus and Jay Bruce will combine to hit at least 65 HR in 2011
These are two of the brightest young outfielders in the game and both have shown that they have power that could explode at any moment. Let’s take a look at their lines for last season:
- · Bruce – .281, 25 HR, 70 RBI, 80 R, 5 SB
- · Rasmus – .276, 23 HR, 66 RBI, 85 R, 12 SB
Bruce may have the advantage to hit for a little more power given his home ballpark (19 of his 25 HR came at home). At 23-years old (he’ll turn 24 in April), he has just skimmed the surface of his power potential. From August on he showed just what could be possible, hitting 15 HR. Yes, one could argue that his HR/FB were a bit unrealistic (28.6% in August and 41.2% in September), but I could also argue that he has significantly more power than the 10 he hit over the first four months of the season.
Overall he had a realistic fly ball rate of 43.7% and HR/FB rate of 15.3%. Seeing him him at least 30 HR, if not improving to 35+ is not unfathomable.
As for Rasmus, his biggest problem has been consistent playing time. He has often clashed with Tony LaRussa, leading to the rumors last season that he actually requested a trade. There certainly is justification for Rasmus’ frustration, as fantasy owners share his pain. For some reason the Cardinals refuse to hand Rasmus regular playing time, constantly pulling him in and out of the lineup.
In September he finally got full-time at bats (30 games) and he responded by hitting .318 with 4 HR. He is a player who runs hot and cold (he had 9 HR in June but just 1 apiece in May and July). At 24-years old and with two full years under his belt, the hope is that two things will happen:
1. He will receive regular playing time throughout the season
2. He will become a consistent performer
If those two things happen, he should easily develop into a 25 HR hitter with the potential for more. Is he going to hit 40? Not likely, but he certainly could get on a torrid pace and reach 30. He has the fly ball rate to support it (48.6%), what he needs to do is add a bit of power (14.8% HR/FB). At his age, it certainly could still develop.
For my prediction to happen, I’m banking on it. Couple Rasmus’ addition of power with the burgeoning power that Bruce showed over the final two months and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see these two outfielders post impressive home run totals in 2011.
Chance of Happening: 20%
What are your thoughts on this prediction? Could it happen? Why or why not?
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