The Los Angeles Angels traded veteran reliever Scott Downs to the Atlanta Braves today in exchange for relief prospect Cory Rasmus. Here is the scoop on the newest member of the Angels system.
Cory Rasmus, RHP: Rasmus was drafted by the Braves in the supplemental first round in 2006, from high school in Seale, Alabama. The brother of Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Colby Rasmus, Cory threw in the mid-90s with a big-breaking curveball and a good changeup, but he was struck down with health problems immediately, missing all of 2007 and most of 2008 after having shoulder surgery. He had a good year in A-ball in 2010 (3.18 ERA, 102/47 K/BB in 124 innings) but missed most of '11 with more injury problems.
The Braves bowed to the inevitable and moved him to the bullpen in 2012 with decent results (3.68 ERA, 62/32 K/BB in 59 innings in Double-A). He has been very effective as a closer in Triple-A this year (14 saves, 1.72 ERA, 48/22 K/BB in 37 innings) and appeared briefly in the majors earlier this year.
Rasmus is a 6-0, 200 pound right-hander, born November 6, 1987. Although he doesn't throw as consistently hard as he did pre-injury, he has taken well to relief work and can still get up to 95 when kept within his limits. He varies speed well with his breaking ball and changeup, but the lost development time shows up in his command, which is spotty. He gave up four homers in 6.2 innings of work in the majors, but his home run rate in the minor leagues has been very reasonable.
This deal makes sense for both teams. The Braves want Downs' experience in the pen for the stretch run. Rasmus was surplus to Atlanta's needs, but the Angels cashed a 37-year-old LOOGY in for someone 11 years younger who might help their future squads as a middle man.