Welcome to the big leagues, Rob Rasmussen! The 5-foot-10 lefty that the Blue Jays acquired this offseason along with Erik Kratz from the Phillies for Brad Lincoln will join a major league team for the first time in his well-traveled career.
Rasmussen, barely 25, comes to Toronto having been drafted by the Florida Marlins in the second round of the 2010 draft after having been drafted in 27th round by the L.A. Dodgers in 2007 out of high school. Interestingly, the Dodgers never gave up on Rasmussen, trading for him from Houston after the 2012 season. The Dodgers sent him to Philadelphia and the Phillies sent him to Toronto and Rasmussen can say that he’s already been a part of five systems but has had his best success at the Triple-A level with the Blue Jays and their affiliate in Buffalo.
A starter for all of his minor league career before 2014, the Blue Jays decided that Rasmussen would be best utilized coming out of the bullpen and has put up some tremendous numbers in Buffalo so far this year. In 13 appearances, Rasmussen has thrown 17 innings with a 2.65 ERA and 1.29 WHIP, striking out 19 and walking 10.
While the walk numbers are high for Rasmussen, he’s coming off his best outing of the year, striking out three consecutive Lehigh Valley IronPigs (the Triple-A affiliate of one of his former teams, the Philadelphia Phillies) using 15 pitches on Sunday. I was at that game and saw a very polished Rasmussen who threw strikes and was able to fool the top three hitters in the IronPigs’ batting order: Canadian outfielder Tyson Gilles, veteran infielder Andres Blanco and top prospect Maikel Franco.
Rasmussen flashed a 92 mph fastball (playing a bit up from the left side) and used a fairly sharp-breaking slurve (that he threw for strikes) as well as a solid changeup that struck out Franco swinging.
Rasmussen isn’t expected to stay in Toronto long; he’ll probably be sent back down to Buffalo on Friday or Saturday if the Jays decide that they want to call up Liam Hendriks to start when the Blue Jays next need a fifth starter this weekend. If Rasmussen does survive the weekend, he may head back to Buffalo when the Blue Jays recall Marcus Stroman to start long term with the big club. Either way, a taste of The Show will be a good thing for Rasmussen, the Pasadena, California native who is an engaging young man. I interviewed him for the Canadian Baseball Network and we still haven’t gotten that podcast posted but we hope to this week and I’ll let you all know when it’s up online!
Who are these players? Find out in The 2014 Toronto Blue Jays Minor League Handbook, now available as an ebook at Smashwords.com for $7.99 US. It’s coming soon to Amazon, Apple iBooks, Kobo and other fine retailers. You can purchase and preview the book at our Smashwords.com page! If you like us here,“like” us on Facebook!
All photos are copyright Blue Jays from Away (2013-2014) and may not be used without permission.