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.