Chrstian Colon takes a swing. Credit: flickr user Minda Haas

Christian Colon May Be the Royals Answer at Second Base

Feb 21, 2013; Surprise, AZ, USA; Kansas City Royals shortstop Christian Colon (72) poses for a picture during photo day at the Royals Spring Training Facility. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Christian Colon is not the most exciting prospect by a long shot, only ranking in the Baseball America Top 100 prospects just once, when he ranked 51st in 2011. In fact, Colon likely is not a top ten prospect even on the Royals, where he has faded into the background with the talent that is coming up the pipeline. However, Colon may actually find himself about the reach the majors, even as soon as this upcoming season.

As it stands, the Royals starting second baseman would be Emilio Bonifacio, who did perform well after coming over from Toronto, producing a .285/.352/.348 batting line in Kansas City. That production may lead some to feel that Bonifacio could produce as a starting second baseman, but there are warning signs. Not only did that production come in a small sample size – 179 plate appearances – but those numbers are actually the second highest of Bonifacio’s career. The only time he has been able to come close to that production was in 2011, a season that appears to be more of an outlier as his career progresses. Bonifacio is also not great defensively, and seems better suited for a super utility role as opposed to a starting spot.

If the Royals decide that Bonifacio is indeed a utility player, then Christian Colon may be an option. During his time in the minors, he has displayed a knack for making contact, striking out in approximately 9.4% of his plate appearances while showing a willingness to take a walk. In his three years in the minors, Colon has put together a .274/.339/.374 batting line; nothing overly spectacular, but still solid numbers as he has been fast tracked through the minor leagues.

Another aspect that makes Colon potentially intriguing is the power that he flashed for Omaha last season. After hitting 17 home runs in his previous two seasons, Colon hit 12 last season while maintaining a batting line that closely mirrored his career averages. Even though the Pacific Coast League is a hitter’s circuit, that increase in power could be worth watching going forward.

Initially drafted as a shortstop, Colon would also seemingly make a solid defensive second baseman. Bringing those instincts over to second, he could potentially pair with Alcides Escobar to give the Royals a solid double play tandem for the next couple of years. Colon could even slide over to short if Escobar’s offense tails off to the point where his defensive ability is not enough to warrant keeping him in the lineup, especially if Bonifacio proves that his hot stretch at the end of 2013 was not a fluke.

Christian Colon may not be a top prospect by any stretch of the imagination., but that does not mean that he cannot end up becoming a solid major league player. In fact, if he can perform the way he has over his minor league career, that may be exactly what Colon becomes.

Tags: Christian Colon Emilio Bonifacio Kansas City Royals

  • jimfetterolf

    Pretty much agree, although I give Boni’s ’13 in KC some weight based on his ’11.

    He was hurt in ’12 and Toronto wasn’t much of a fit in ’13, just as Justin Maxwell didn’t look like much coming from Houston. To me it looks like it’ll do to begin the season with Ciriaco as UIF and Colon getting some time in Omaha at 2nd to speed the transition. If Colon performs and Bonifacio or Ciriaco don’t then the adjustment will be easy and obvious.

    I assume Colon will be solid at 2nd or maybe even 3rd, if needed, so just a matter of him showing strike zone awareness and hitting line drives and hoping he doesn’t fall into the Omaha trap of swinging for the fences as the previous 2B savior did.

    • Dave Hill

      I had thought of that, but he still drew walks in Omaha and his numbers were right in line with his career marks. The fact that he did not appear to change his game based on playing in Omaha was impressive to me. It’s going to be interesting to see what the Royals do if he has a great Spring Training.

      • jimfetterolf

        If he has a great spring and Boni still looks good I think Super Two considerations kick in, just as with Ventura. I expect both to start at Omaha unless Bonifacio comes to SP fat and lazy and Will Smith falls off a cliff.

  • Dave Lowe

    So do the Royals simply write off Johnny Giavotella at this point?

    If he can’t hit in the majors, then he’s not a major league prospect. He’s still on the 40 man roster, though.


      Doesn’t really matter. They’ve never given him a real shot. Part of that is related to his lax defensive abilities, but part of it is just that someone in the organization decided he wouldn’t ever be the starter. Shame because I think with some time starting he could’ve developed into a much better second baseman (at least better than Getz has been). If you want a guy to hit at the major league level, you have to give them more than a month at a time to adjust. The team should’ve used last season to at least give Gio a real chance at starting. Instead we’ve got a logjam of crap at 2nd with no sure choice.

      • jimfetterolf

        Last year we had some Getz,some Tejada, and some Bonifacio, with a sprinkle of Gio. Of the group, Bonifacio took best advantage of his opportunity. That is what happens.

    • Dave Hill

      I don’t think they ever trusted him. The way the Royals regarded Giavotella reminded me a lot of how they handled Mike Aviles, only Aviles forced them to play him. Giavotella also really did not do much with his chances, which gave the Royals the ability to move away from him.

      • moretrouble

        Giavotella’s fans are quick to point out how much time the organization has given to Moustakas, yet not to Gio. What the fans do not consider is that Giavotella doesn’t grade out as well as the other “fast track” players. Gio grades out as average at best in all categories, and is minus in some of them. Moustakas, on the other hand, grades out to a plus defender, plus arm strength, and no worse than average in the other categories.

        One has to admire Giavotella’s intensity and determination. But, he needs more than that to stick with the club. I keep waiting for him to show something – plus speed, arm strength, range, overall defense – something that would convince me to give him time to adjust to MLB pitching. I just don’t see it.

      • jimfetterolf

        Counting spring trainings, Gio had something like six chances. Like with Getz, it’s just too crowded now with weak-hitting 2Bs and I reasonably expect both to be gone to free roster spots. As I expect Colon to at least start the year at Omaha at 2nd, there is no place for either. Best would be toss-ins on a trade, probably more likely is DFA to get them off the roster.

  • moretrouble

    The author expresses a point of view that may be in line with the KC front office. If KC cannot upgrade the 2B position, then Colon will get a long look in ST. The young man has some talent and it’s time he got a shot.

    Regarding Bonifacio, the metric guys don’t make much allowance for a hitter switching leagues. We all know of the 2012 injuries, then the trade to Toronto. What isn’t talked about much is getting adjusted to a new league. The metric guys are quick to say Bonifacio reverted to his career numbers in Toronto, but considering what he looked like during his short time here, I’m giving more weight to recent performance. I could be proved wrong about that, but I think he’s the favorite to win the 2B job – assuming no upgrade. However, with Colon around, Bonifacio will have to earn it.

  • Terry LeRoy Payne

    Colon is a bust. If he hadn’t been a first rounder he would have been gone long ago. He is nothing more than a wasted draft pick. Another Chris Getz

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