More on Christian Colon

So I’ve had some time to look a little bit more at Christian Colon, the fourth overall pick in last night’s first round, and I’m still not sure where I stand on his potential.  I know I should take a side, but Colon is such a bland pick, I can’t quite motivate myself to applaud or condemn the Royals for selecting him.

From the scouting reports that I’ve read, the consensus is that Colon can make the majors quickly, will be adequate with the bat, and has the intangibles on his side.  But there are concerns that he won’t develop any power at all, that his speed will force him to move to second base, that he’s at best Placido Polanco.

I watched the Cal State Fullerton/Minnesota game last night, Colon’s first since being drafted earlier that evening.  Sure, it’s just one game, but he did seem to be the kind of catalyst that does just what’s asked of him at the top of the lineup and does the little things to help his team win.  In the first inning, he was hit by the first pitch of the game.  After a balk moved him to second base, he advanced to third on a grounder to second and scored on single by the next batter.

He struck out in his next at bat, which is actually quite rare for him, as he’s only struck out 65 times in his three years at CSFU, covering more than 725 at bats.  He singled with the bases loaded to drive in two his next time up, drilled a double into the gap in his next at bat, then stretched a single into a double in his final at bat.  His final line: 3-4, 3 R, 3 RBI, 2 doubles.  Not bad.

It appears, for now, that the Royals intend to keep him at shortstop until he shows he can’t cut it there.

He’s a shortstop. He has been his whole life. Obviously, he’s like most shortstops and spent some time at second base, but we selected him because he’s a shortstop and, in our opinion, the best in the country — J.J. Piccolo, Royals assistant GM

And while Colon isn’t much of a sexy pick, and his upside may be lower than other picks available at his spot, but as Sam Mellinger points out, picking Colon indicates the Royals think they’re close to putting all their prospects together in the next couple years. They’re fine-tuning their minor league rosters to fit how they expect future rosters to come together.

Maybe Colon isn’t a homerun pick. The Royals were in a tough spot, with all sorts of options, but no standout selection like the top three overall picks. Provided Colon signs early (which isn’t guaranteed but it’s possible), he’ll probably start at Low-A Wilmington for the remainder of the year, making his way to Double A Northwest Arkansas next season, and knocking on the doors of Omaha and Kansas City thereafter. That times out with some of the expected arrivals of the prospects and the team-control years for Billy Butler, Alex Gordon and Alberto Callaspo. Hopefully, there’s something to this process and Colon’s one of the keys to its success.

Colon scouting links (for your own perusal):

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Tags: AL Central Baseball Christian Colon Dayton Moore Eric Hosmer J.J. Piccolo Kansas City Royals KC Mike Moustakas MLB Royals

  • rbt

    So what’s Wally’s problem with him?

  • Michael Engel

    I don’t want to put words in Wally’s mouth, but I think he was wanting more of an upside pick in the first round, and Colon, while he’ll probably be a solid everyday MLB middle infielder, doesn’t offer a lot in elite skills.

    Also, from talking with Wally, he’s adamantly opposed to drafting based on need, especially early, and Colon feels like more of a gap-filling pick.

    Mostly, I think he’ll tell you it’s a missed opportunity.

    • Wally Fish

      Michael is pretty accurate in relaying my reasoning and “dislike” of the pick. It isn’t necessarily that I dislike Colon as a player so much as what the pick indicates to me. First, that Chris Sale was clearly their #1 target, but they did not select him because of Sale’s bonus demands. That, to me, is red flag number one for a team that has started to make some progress by investing in young talent.

      The second red flag is that Colon was instantly touted as a guy who should reach the majors quickly. That in itself is not a bad thing, but when you couple it with the recent remarks of the front office, it is clear that they are no longer interested in developing a top to bottom system and have reverted back to the game plan of the Allard Baird era. You know, the one where they try to get a group of players to hit the majors all around the same time. That same BS is starting to play out under Dayton Moore’s watch and it really bothers me.

      It appears that the underlying philosophy of the organization has once again shifted. When you have a bad plan (i.e. building your farm system for a 1-2 year window) shifting to something else is a good idea. When you have a good plan (i.e. the one the Royals used in recent seasons to invest in amateur talent and pay more than other teams to do so) shifting away from it is a bad idea. A lack of continuity and philosophy has added to the struggles of the franchise, and it looks like we’re stuck back in the cycle of change.