As I promised on Monday, I’m going to start posting some draft profiles of some guys the Mets will be considering at the #7 pick. First up is a guy who’s been making some headlines recently, Christian Colon.
School: California State-Fullerton
Weight: 185 lbs.
What He Brings
The Puerto Rican shortstop’s best asset is a contact bat, driven by good batspeed and a compact swing with a pretty short path to the ball. He starts in an open stance and his hands held high, lowering them before loading his swing. He loads his hands slightly backward which does add a little bit of length to his swing, but it’s nothing to be too worried about. His contact rates have always been very strong in college, and I don’t see any reason why he’ll suddenly struggle to put bat on the ball. He adds to this a good approach to the plate, and he will take pitches.
At the plate, he brings a long track record as a contact hitter – he was a very well regarded high school player who was the MVP of the 2006 AFLAC Game – and was drafted in the 10th round of the 2007 draft, falling due to signability concerns. The power he’s shown this year is a more recent development, and it’s what has pushed him from the bottom of the first round to a potential top-ten prospect. Looking at his swing, there’s reason to believe the power isn’t a fluke or a college phantom: he loads his swing, he does a great job of keeping his weight back and transferring it forward, he waits on the pitch and utilizes his batspeed, he’s got a little bit of loft to his swing. I still think he’s more of a line drive hitter, but I do think he’s capable of producing mid-range homerun numbers, in the 15 to 20 range.
In the field, scouts rave about his instincts, hands, and fundamentals. He never appears lost out there, and that will go a long way toward keeping him at the position. The arm isn’t good, but it’s adequate. Overall, I’d put the odds of him sticking at 50-50, but it’s worth noting the bat will play at second.
And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention his intangibles. People who watch him regularly love his game, they love his attitude, they love his leadership, they love his head. There are people who really believe that he can be a great player despite more limited ability than those picked alongside him. That counts for something, I guess.
What He Doesn’t Bring
No one tool stands out, and scouts don’t like that. The tool that worries them the most is his speed. He’s not an athlete, and his footspeed is below average. And while his body isn’t terrible right now, some scouts have compared it to that of Ronnie Belliard, who was one a top prospect too. Great instincts have made him a great baserunner at the college level, but he’s not fast enough to swipe bags in the pros, though he may be able to pick his spots and take 10 a year or so.
More worrisome is how his lack of speed may affect his range in the field. What you hear about Colon’s defense is very similar to what scouts were saying about Reese Havens a couple years ago. You can’t look at him and point to anything that he does wrong in the infield. His footwork is fine, the arm is sort of blah but good enough, the hands are great, the instincts are there, but he’s slow. And as the game gets faster at higher levels, is he going to be able to catch up? That’s open to debate.
I mentioned his lack of track record with regard to power production at the plate above, but it’s worth mentioning again. And I’ve heard from several folks that they’re worried about Colon’s plate coverage and swing length on outside pitches. Otherwise, there’s not much to dislike at the plate.
Colon’s unlikely to be a major star due to his lack of any single plus tool, but he is a pretty good bet to land at the major league level as a regular. Personally, he might not be my first choice among candidates for the seventh pick, but I’d be far from upset if the Mets landed him. The Mets don’t really need a middle infielder, thanks to the presence of Jose Reyes and Reese Havens – Wilmer Flores, too, but I say he winds up at third or the outfield – but that should really be a secondary concern when drafting.
I think some have a more acerbic reaction to Colon due to his lack of tools and his reputation as a hard-working player. To the latter point I will say this: Makeup is no substitute for talent, and once you make it to the majors, it barely matters at all. But Colon is talented, and the younger the player is, the more his makeup matters. These are people who still have things to learn, and some just won’t be receptive to that fact. Like I said, I’ll take the talented player first more often than not, but I don’t mind giving a player a small boost for his attitude.
All in all, I see Colon as a safe bet and a quick riser.
Finally, here’s the video Sam posted the other day: