The Los Angeles Dodgers acquired some help for the September pennant run last night, acquiring veteran Michael Young from the Phillies in exchange for left-handed pitching prospect Rob Rasmussen. Here is my latest take on Rasmussen.
Rob Rasmussen, LHP: Rasmussen was drafted by the Marlins in the second round in 2010, from UCLA, where he was the number three starter behind Gerrit Cole and Trevor Bauer. He went 12-10, 3.64 in 27 starts for High-A Jupiter in 2011 with a 118/71 K/BB in 148 innings, then returned to Jupiter in 2012 and posted a 3.90 ERA with a 75/36 K/BB in 88 innings. He was traded to the Houston Astros last summer in the Carlos Lee trade, promoted to Double-A Corpus Christi, and posted a 4.80 ERA in 54 innings with a 44/18 K/BB.
The Astros traded him to the Dodgers last December for John Ely. He has split '13 between Double-A Chattanooga (2.55 ERA, 76/26 K/BB in 81 innings, 60 hits) and Triple-A Albuquerque (6.46 ERA, 37/32 K/BB, 64 hits in 54 innings).
Rasmussen is a 5-9, 160 pound lefty born April 2, 1989. He has four pitches, including an 88-92 MPH fastball, curveball, slider, and changeup. He likes using his breaking stuff and tends to get nibbly with the fastball, resulting in walk rates that are higher than ideal for a guy with what looks like a finesse arsenal. Rasmussen got killed in Triple-A but he often needs adjustment time when he reaches a new level, and the Pacific Coast League/Albuquerque environment is unforgiving.
Despite his small size, Rasmussen is very durable and eats innings without getting hurt. He has a shot at being a fourth starter if he can cut down on the walks and show more confidence in his fastball. If that doesn't happen, his breaking pitches are good enough that he could still be useful in short doses as a reliever.