Toronto Blue Jays: Whatever happened to Chris Colabello?
After seemingly coming out of nowhere to be one of the Blue Jays most dangerous hitters in 2015, Chris Colabello hasn’t been heard from much since. Whatever happened to him?
Baseball is a strange sport, in that it’s extremely hard to evaluate players, especially prospects. Some look like guaranteed superstars and turn out to be anything but, and every now and then you get lucky and find an All-Star calibre player where many others didn’t see one.
It’s happened for the Blue Jays a few times over the last decade or so, most notably with Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion, who were both late-bloomers that didn’t really become elite until their late 20’s. And if you remember the 2015 season very well at all, you’ll remember another player by the name of Chris Colabello that made a similarly unexpected leap to stardom that year at the age of 31.
Despite playing in parts of two season with the Minnsota Twins and slashing just .214/.284/.364, Colabello unlocked some potential in Toronto that he had never displayed before, at least not at the big league level. He ended up playing in 101 games with the Blue Jays in 2015, and slashed a pretty remarkable .321/.367/.520 with 15 home runs, 19 doubles, and 54 RBI across 333 at-bats. After starting the year in Triple-A, he worked his way up to the #5 hitter in John Gibbons‘ incredibly dangerous lineup, following Encarnacion and hitting ahead of Russell Martin and Troy Tulowitzki.
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Of course, his career came crashing back down to earth in 2016 when he tested positive for dehydrochlormethyltestosterone, a steroid that is on the banned list for Major League Baseball. Colabello maintained his innocence at the time, but he ended up serving an 80-game suspension, and unfortunately never made it back to the big leagues with the Blue Jays, or anyone else.
Since then, Colabello has continued to pursue his baseball career, but he’s struggled to recapture the form that he found in 2015. He started that pursuit with the Cleveland Indians organization in 2016, but unfortunately didn’t make the big league team out of Spring Training, and slashed just .225/.323/.336 across 72 games with their Triple-A affiliate. He later moved on to the Milwaukee Brewers organization that year, and actually hit well in 44 games slashing .301/.393/.494, but it wasn’t enough to get him back to the big leagues.
Over the last couple of years, Colabello hasn’t even appeared with a minor league affiliate of MLB, although he has stayed active in baseball. He made appearances in the Mexican Winter League and with Team Italy in some international competition in 2018 and 2019, and he also played some Independent League baseball last year with the Kansas City T-Bones, and the Sugar Land Skeeters.
Now that baseball has been put on pause, it’s hard to say where that will take a guy like Colabello. Now 36 years old, it’s unlikely that we’ll see him work his way back to the big leagues again at this point, but at least we’ll always have that 2015 run to remember him by.