It’s Time To Let Christian Colon Sink Or Swim

Christian Colon has two of the biggest hits in Royals history. How long will it be until he gets a starting gig?

As the Kansas City Royals enter Spring Training, Kings of Kauffman will release a series of articles on the 25-man roster. We will be going through each individual player, including the locks, bubble players, and a few prospects. We will progress through the roster from the top down, continuing with the projected starting lineup.

So far, we have looked at Yordano Ventura, Edinson Volquez, Ian Kennedy, Chris Young, Danny Duffy, Kris Medlen, Luke Hochevar, Kelvin Herrera, Joakim Soria, Wade Davis, Salvador PerezEric Hosmer, and Omar Infante

Today, we will be looking at Christian Colon

All statistics provided by Fangraphs, Baseball Reference, and Brooks Baseball

2015 stats – .290/.356/.336, 0 HR, 6 RBI,  9.2 BB%, 95 wRC+, 0.2 fWAR
2016 Steamer – .264/.316/.352, 3 HR, 23 RBI, 6.6 BB%, 83 wRC+, 0.5 fWAR

Projected Role – Backup Infielder/Starting Second Baseman

2015 Results

Christian Colon could have went 0-107 in his 2015 at-bats and nobody would have even remembered.

As long as he would have gone 1-1 in the playoffs, which he obviously did, hitting the game-winning single in game five of the World Series to clinch the Royals first World Series title in 30 years.

It’s actually kind of interesting to think about.

Here’s a guy who has been overshadowed his entire career, labeled a bust early on because his name wasn’t Matt Harvey or Chris Sale.

He’s been handcuffed behind Omar Infante for the last two seasons, and at 26, found himself spending most of 2015 in Triple-A while Infante was having a historically bad season.

Despite all of this, Colon has two of the biggest hits in Royals history. To match the narrative of this thought, he did so in just three at-bats.

The first hit came in the 2014 AL Wild Card game, driving in Eric Hosmer to tie the game in the 12th inning, eventually coming around to score the winning run.

The second came in game five of the World Series, driving in Jarrod Dyson to sink the Mets and deliver Kansas City a championship.

Colon’s accomplishments are weighty, but his in-season production is lacking in sample size.

To be blatantly honest, we still don’t know a whole lot about Colon, other than he probably shouldn’t have had to wait until 2016 for a real opportunity in Kansas City.

He has shown us that he can get on base. I am hesitant to say that he is a prototypical number two hitter, but he really is.

For his minor league career, Colon has a .345 OBP. In the majors, that bumps to .361.

At the plate, however, that’s about all you’re going to get from him. Thus far, he has proven not to be any threat, power wise.

Across all levels, Colon holds a .383 SLG% in just short of 3,000 PA. That’s a pretty good sample size.

He is still yet to grab his first Major League home run and only has 11 extra-base hits across 299 Major League at-bats. Last season, Colon only ISO’d at a .047 clip.

2016 Outlook

With all that being said, it’s hard to make a judgment on Colon when he hasn’t been given significant at-bats.

The Royals sent Colon down to Triple-A Omaha last season in part to get him regular at-bats.

And despite Colon’s numbers not popping off the screen, he’s still a career .303 hitter at the major league level and a career .281 hitter in the minors.

Omar Infante had a 44 wRC+ last season. Anything at the plate from Colon would be a step up.

The question still remains whether or not Ned Yost will allow Colon to sink or swim in 2016.

The defense is definitely a question. Infante was putrid at the plate in 2015, but he was one of the better defensive second baseman in baseball.

As the Royals Review article referenced earlier mentioned, it was rumored that the Royals were not impressed with Colon defensively, and his bat wasn’t picking up the slack.

Given that Infante was toting a .549 OPS at the time of Colon’s promotion, they obviously had some sort of doubts regarding Colon.

What this battle is ultimately going to come down to is Colon’s spring. Colon can make Yost’s decision really easy by hitting.

If he reverts to being a singles hitter again, his defensive liabilities will be magnified and it will be easy to plug Infante back into that spot.

As we discussed yesterday, it’s not out of the question that a healthy Infante could bounce back.

However, I’m sure Ned Yost and the Royals fan base wouldn’t be disappointed if Colon forced his way into the lineup.

The Royals couldn’t ask for a better time for a guy like Colon to step in. With veterans at nearly every position, there isn’t a desperate need for Colon to produce at a high level.

Just plug him into the bottom of the order and give him at bats. Let him settle in.

Again, given the Royals productivity at second base in recent years, Colon wouldn’t have to do much to be an upgrade.

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