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Rasmus adds depth to Angels' bullpen options

First-round pick acquired from Braves has complete pitch repertoire

As a former Major League reliever with parts of eight seasons pitching for the Indians, Mets and Rockies, Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto knows pitching.

He knows what it's like to pitch out of the bullpen. He's experienced all the emotion and ramifications of being traded.

Dipoto can relate to his newest relief pitcher, 25-year-old right-hander Cory Rasmus.

Rasmus comes from a baseball-minded family. His brother Colby plays center field for the Blue Jays. His younger brother Casey is a catcher in the Cardinals organization. Brother Cyle played baseball at Columbus State University.

Cory Rasmus was obtained from the Atlanta Braves last week in exchange for 37-year-old left-handed veteran relief pitcher Scott Downs.

Signed directly out of Russell County High School (Ala.), Rasmus was selected by the Braves in the supplemental first round of the 2006 First-Year Player Draft.

Rasmus has completed parts of seven Minor League seasons, pitching at every Braves classification, from Rookie League to Triple-A. He had a combined 3.61 ERA in 311 2/3 innings over 143 games in the Braves organization, all but 35 as a reliever.

Rasmus has an average 6-foot build with a well-distributed 200-pound frame. He has probably seen his maximum growth and has had shoulder issues in the past, but he is fit and able to pitch.

Rasmus has a complete repertoire, including a four-seam fastball, a slider, a curveball and a changeup. In the games I viewed, I liked all his pitches.

Rasmus has a quick, resilient arm. In fact, his velocity has increased with age and experience. He was throwing his fastball at 91.19 mph last October. In June this season, that same four-seam fastball was clocked at 93.18 mph. He can probably increase that velocity to the high 90s if needed. He threw in the high 90s in his prep years, but higher velocity might mean control and command inconsistency.

Using the fastball as the mainstay of his arsenal, Rasmus changes speeds well when he throws his slider at 80 mph, his curve at 75 and his changeup at 86. Each pitch has the capability of getting hitters to swing and miss.

If there is a trouble spot for Rasmus, it is his propensity to get the ball too high in the strike zone. When that happens, the hitter gets a great look at the pitch, and fly balls result. Some of those fly balls make it over the fence. If Rasmus pitches up in the eyes of the hitter, he will have to increase the velocity to the very high 90s to succeed.

The Braves promoted Rasmus to the parent club earlier this season. Pitching in three games, he had an ERA of 8.10. He also surrendered four home runs in only 6 2/3 innings.

Rasmus will continue his development with an eye to helping the club in relief, and the Angels will welcome his strong and lively arm.

Bernie Pleskoff has served as a professional scout for the Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners.
Read More: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Cory Rasmus