With Opening Day less than two weeks away, we’ll take a look at a member of the 2018 Orioles every day as they try to bounce back from a disappointing last-place finish a year ago.
OF Colby Rasmus
Opening Day age: 31
Contract status: Under contract through the 2019 season
2017 stats: .281/.318/.579, 9 HR, 23 RBI, 17 R, 1 SB, 129 PA, 1.2 WAR (Baseball Reference)
Why to be impressed: In an abbreviated season, Rasmus once again showed impressive power after averaging 21 home runs per season from 2012-16 and owns a career 8.8 percent walk rate, which would have ranked third on the 2017 Orioles. He’s also been a plus defender during his major league career and registered an impressive 20 defensive runs saved in 2016, his last full season.
Why to be concerned: Rasmus walked away from baseball last summer because of lingering hip issues and a desire to spend more time with his family, making it fair to wonder if his health and renewed enthusiasm for the game lasts. He also owns a career .242 batting average and a strikeout rate that’s hovered around 30 percent over the last five years and spiked to a Chris Davis-like 34.9 percent in 2017.
2018 outlook: Likely to be the starting right fielder against right-handed pitching to begin the season, Rasmus offers power and good defense as a platoon corner outfielder and can serve as an adequate backup to Adam Jones in center. However, he holds a profile too similar to the incumbents in a lineup likely to again have the impressive peaks and frustrating valleys we’ve come to expect over the years.
Not-so-scientific projections for 2018: .241/.306/.447, 15 HR, 44 RBI, 48 R, 1 SB, 335 PA, 1.8 WAR