Toronto Blue Jays News

Blue Jays 2015 year in review: Chris Colabello

Craig Borden
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We have all heard the story by now of how Chris Colabello took the roundabout way to get to the Major Leagues. He was a Division II star and went undrafted to become a staple on the Worcester Tornadoes in the Independent league where Colabello’s love of the game fueled him through 7 years of baseball at the level. His hard work would pay off and he was finally given a shot to join the Minnesota Twins organization in 2012.  Colabello was placed on waivers prior to the 2015 season where the Blue Jays were waiting to pick him up.

Colabello started the season with the AAA Buffalo Bisons and was hitting the cover off the ball through 23 games. He was batting a solid .337 with 5 home runs, 3 doubles, 14 runs scored, and 18 RBI’s. This led the Blue Jays to call him up where he carved out a spot in left field along with playing some first base. As the season progressed, Colabello filled many holes and surprisingly mashed opposing pitchers.

His position splits were 34 games at first, 33 games in left, 13 game in right, and 12 in the DH spot.  The Blue Jays needed him to produce in the outfield due to injuries and their lack of an everyday left fielder. Colabello, who is not traditionally an outfielder by any means, filled the hole as well as we could have expected.

Colabello’s true worth was shown at the plate this season. In 101 games, Colabello dominated pitchers to the tune of a .321 batting average. In addition to the stellar batting average he popped 19 doubles, 15 homers, 54 RBIs, and 55 runs scored. The only thing that might have helped Colabello hit better would have been some consistency. Once he was no longer needed in the outfield after Ben Revere was acquired, Colabello did not have an everyday home and was splitting time with Justin Smoak for the remainder of the season. Smoak, known as a better defensive first basemen that Colabello, got more playing time down the stretch.  The question for John Gibbons was to play the defense and possible homer from Smoak or to play the consistent-swinging Colabello.

Once the playoffs rolled around, though, Colabello became the regular first basemen and played excellently with the opportunity. With his baseball dreams coming true, Colabello owned the Texas Rangers in the ALDS. In 4 games he hit .375 with 2 doubles, a home run, and 2 RBIs. In the ALCS he struggled at the plate some but still managed to put his stamp on the series.  Colabello hit a solo home run in game 5 that opened the flood gates in Toronto.

Next: Opportunity knocks for Chad Jenkins in 2016

The Good

Chris Colabello will be a Blue Jay when spring training opens for the 2016 season barring an off season trade. Colabello will look to bring his solid hitting to spring and win the Blue Jays first basemen job. He seems to be getting better with age and has proven that he can be a consistent hitter in the Majors.  Look for him to come out of the gate hungry to win the job outright. His love of the game and drive can still take him far in this game and he has been a huge contributor since joining the Blue Jays.

The Bad

Chris Colabello is expected to regress by many baseball professionals due to his massively inflated .411 BABIP.  How he can continue to hit .320 in the Majors has been the big question.  Have the Blue Jays found their next diamond in the rough in Colabello? He will be 32 years old for this upcoming season.

The Future

Chris Colabello is not arbitration eligible until 2017 so he is expected to be in the Blue Jays organization for a while.  Colabello will come to spring training looking to win a job with the Blue Jays. The difference this spring is that he has a chance to be the incumbent for the job rather then a late addition to the roster. His performance in the postseason and in the clutch should earn him some points to be ranked high on the list for the Jays first basemen job.

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