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Article: The Big Switch: Chris Colabello

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#1 John Bonnes

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Posted 06 April 2014 - 07:56 PM

You can view the page at http://twinsdaily.co...Chris-Colabello

#2 Sconnie

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Posted 06 April 2014 - 08:31 PM

And he leads the AL in RBI! It's a feel good story, and I hope for Chris and the Twins that he can sustain.

thanks for the great story John

#3 Seth Stohs

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Posted 06 April 2014 - 08:48 PM

If you've ever had the chance to meet Colabello or talk to him for even 10 minutes, it would surprise no one that he turned down the money to go play in Korea. When I talked to him this spring, he said all the Twins needed to do was tell him that he had a chance and he would turn down the money in South Korea. As he said, he played for basically free in the independent leagues for all those years, it's not about the money. His dream was to play in the big leagues, not elsewhere.

And the reality was that he certainly always had a chance. Looking at the depth charts, he was certainly the best right-handed bat that was on the bubble, so depending upon roster makeup, he had a chance.

And, he has made the most of it, coming through in big situations. By doing so, he's earned more playing time for now as well. Jason Kubel has been as good as I expected, and the combination is certainly a positive.

#4 h2oface

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Posted 06 April 2014 - 09:11 PM

[COLOR=#4C4C4C][FONT=Helvetica Neue][FONT=arial][FONT=franklin gothic medium]Chris "They tried to make me go to Korea but I said, 'No, no, no.'" Colabello [/FONT]is inspiring. I hope he stays in the lineup, everyday.
[/FONT]
[/FONT][/COLOR]

Edited by h2oface, 06 April 2014 - 09:13 PM.


#5 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 06 April 2014 - 09:11 PM

I love baseball because of guys like Colabello. I thought he was crazy to turn down the Asian offers he received this offseason.

Now look at him. Wonderful.

#6 jokin

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Posted 06 April 2014 - 10:00 PM

I love baseball because of guys like Colabello. I thought he was crazy to turn down the Asian offers he received this offseason.

Now look at him. Wonderful.


Yup. Sure, it could all end tomorrow, but Cola's story has a chance to be an even better one than Evan Gattis or Yangervis Solarte. And how can you not love a guy who turned down lifetime financial security to continue chasing down his lifelong dream?

I had missed the part about Cola struggling in winter ball- he really was near the end of the line. John nailed it:

Hollywood would turn down this script as too saccharine.


I bet there're some great, untold stories on how he was able to keep his dream alive for 7 years in the Can-Am League.

#7 Don't Feed the Greed Guy

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Posted 06 April 2014 - 10:27 PM

So when Disney comes to town, who gets to play the Italian version of Colabello?

First, our subject:

colabello.jpg
And some options:

afleck.jpg
1. Affleck

chachi.jpg
2. Chachi
rambo.jpg
3. Balboa... does that rhyme with Colabella?
wahlberg.png
4. Papale & Colabello don't rhyme.

Other???

#8 Marta Shearing

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Posted 06 April 2014 - 10:34 PM

All the more amazing when you consider his struggles last year. He had that odd stance where he had virtually no chance of hitting a pitch on the outside corner.

#9 Dman

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Posted 07 April 2014 - 06:31 AM

I never really thought CC had a chance to make it to the Majors. I mean typically scouts find guys like this before they get as old he was. It seemed unlikely that he would possibly be a diamond in the ruff. He was a good Indy league player but would that really translate? Seemed unlikely to me. I really thought he might be making a bad decision not taking the overseas offer as he seemed to have a million dollars for certain going that direction.

For as much as I have second guessed this guy since the Twins got him I also fell in love with his potential. To me there was always something special about this guy. He seemed to rise to every challenge. Erase every objection you could have about his talent. You have got to give the guy props for believing in himself when a lot of people around him did not. It seems that if you can bust through all of that you should be a good player in the end. I have been rooting for him to make it since he started hitting in AA and I hope he has a good MLB career.

It is very early to call CC a success as he has only had only one exceptional week in MLB, but I like his odds to make it better now that he seems to have figured some things out. Hopefully he is the diamond in the ruff that the Twins were lucky to find.

#10 ChiTownTwinsFan

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Posted 07 April 2014 - 08:13 AM

I love stories like these. And I hope it continues to play out all year long.
When life gives you lemons, suck on them and persevere.

#11 AM.

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Posted 07 April 2014 - 08:27 AM

Colabello seems to be doing what he has been doing for years, now. I think MLB has an "age-ism" problem...if you don't advance quickly, or have to repeat a level, or are too old for a minor league level, you are written off. It seems to me that the team that capitalizes on this market inefficiency in baseball is going to have success...maybe pulling together a bunch of "AAAA" guys with chips on their shoulders.

#12 kab21

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Posted 07 April 2014 - 08:41 AM

Colabello seems to be doing what he has been doing for years, now. I think MLB has an "age-ism" problem...if you don't advance quickly, or have to repeat a level, or are too old for a minor league level, you are written off. It seems to me that the team that capitalizes on this market inefficiency in baseball is going to have success...maybe pulling together a bunch of "AAAA" guys with chips on their shoulders.


Billy Beane has been doing this for years with AAAA positionless sluggers. He hit paydirt with Jack Cust but mostly he just clogged his roster with guys that couldn't field and didn't hit much either.

Collabello :th_alc:

#13 spycake

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Posted 07 April 2014 - 08:59 AM

I love Cola, he's my favorite guy on the current 25-man roster, but are we witnessing his "Andrew Albers" moment? He's still sending almost everything the opposite way (I think yesterday's double was the first time he went left of CF at all). Has any power guy had sustained success doing that?

#14 LaBombo

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Posted 07 April 2014 - 09:02 AM

Hats off to Cola for following the dream instead of the money. Well done. Bonus points for translating for Arcia in the postgames.

That being said, the stark contrast between the adulation over his nice week and the detached skepticism about Anthony Slama is puzzling.

#15 oldguy10

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Posted 07 April 2014 - 09:36 AM

spycake questions hitters having sustained success in going the other way, a good question, what is the answer? And how does one research that? I would think many MLB hitters over the years have had success in doing so but of course do not know for sure.

#16 SweetOne69

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Posted 07 April 2014 - 09:43 AM

spycake questions hitters having sustained success in going the other way, a good question, what is the answer? And how does one research that? I would think many MLB hitters over the years have had success in doing so but of course do not know for sure.


The most obvious one is David Ortiz, but that is mainly due to his home ballpark.

#17 CRArko

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Posted 07 April 2014 - 09:53 AM

The most obvious one is David Ortiz, but that is mainly due to his home ballpark.


Yeah, Fenway will drive a lot of this. Yaz was quite the opposite field guy.

Mauer, obviously. Thome, too. I'm having a tougher time thinking up righties. Miggy? Bautista?

#18 spycake

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Posted 07 April 2014 - 10:11 AM

No doubt there have been MLB power hitters who can successfully hit the other way, like Ortiz -- but that's not the question.

Can a power hitter who *almost exclusively* hits the other way have sustained MLB success? As to the Ortiz example, more than half of Ortiz's career HR have been pulled, according to B-Ref. He's a good hitter who is also good at going the other way.

Colabello hasn't pulled anything at MLB level yet (B-Ref says 4-22 with no XBH in his career, including a scant 0-for-2 this year so far -- closest he's come I guess is just left of center, which still counts as "up the middle"). Only 10.7% of his career AB have had pull outcomes (infield, outfield, outs,... everything pulled), and it's not trending up. Even Mauer has pulled 15.1% of his AB in his career, Ichiro is 17.3%... and these are left-handed AVG hitters. Can you imagine a RH power bat with a far lower pull rate than them?

Again, love Cola, just setting out what I want to see before I can really believe: pull the ball! (Although if he can keep leading the league in RBIs in the meantime, I will enjoy that too. :) )

#19 spycake

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Posted 07 April 2014 - 10:17 AM

Yeah, Fenway will drive a lot of this. Yaz was quite the opposite field guy.

Mauer, obviously. Thome, too. I'm having a tougher time thinking up righties. Miggy? Bautista?


Ortiz: 25.3% pulled AB
Thome: 18.6%
Bautista: 24.7%
Cabrera: 21.3%

#20 Oldgoat_MN

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Posted 07 April 2014 - 10:36 AM

Great article. Thank John.

Can't be happier for the guy.
Sticking with his dreams and finally playing in MLB. (and rather well, I might add)

Cool.

I'm on a whiskey diet. I've lost 3 days already.


#21 jay

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Posted 07 April 2014 - 12:46 PM

Billy Beane has been doing this for years with AAAA positionless sluggers. He hit paydirt with Jack Cust but mostly he just clogged his roster with guys that couldn't field and didn't hit much either.


On last year's Oakland team alone, there were plenty of successful examples.

1B Brandon Moss -- Reached AAA in 2007, one bad MLB year in 2009, finally started again as a 29 year old in 2013 with a .859 OPS on the season.
SS Jed Lowrie -- Reached AAA in 2007, but could never catch on with the Red Sox. Had an okay year with the Astros in 2012 before being acquired by the A's for 2013 and putting up a .791 OPS as a 29 year old.
3B Josh Donaldson -- The A's own AAAA story, reached AAA in 2010. Finally broke out in 2013 at age 27 as a starter and All-Star with a .883 OPS.
OF Josh Reddick -- Stuck between AAA and MLB since 2009 before being acquired by Oakland for 2012. Down year in 2013, but 32 homers in 2012.

2014 -- the year of the Handsome Cola!

#22 jay

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Posted 07 April 2014 - 12:51 PM

Colabello hasn't pulled anything at MLB level yet (B-Ref says 4-22 with no XBH in his career, including a scant 0-for-2 this year so far -- closest he's come I guess is just left of center, which still counts as "up the middle"). Only 10.7% of his career AB have had pull outcomes (infield, outfield, outs,... everything pulled), and it's not trending up. Even Mauer has pulled 15.1% of his AB in his career, Ichiro is 17.3%... and these are left-handed AVG hitters. Can you imagine a RH power bat with a far lower pull rate than them?

Again, love Cola, just setting out what I want to see before I can really believe: pull the ball! (Although if he can keep leading the league in RBIs in the meantime, I will enjoy that too. :) )


Those results, almost exclusively from last season, don't seem relevant at this point. His positioning last year allowed him to hit inside pitches the other way and barely flail at outside pitches. If you hear Chris talk, he'll tell you he's always been a pull hitter and he went to that approach when he realized he could still hit the ball far the other way. It was clearly successful in AAA, but not MLB.

Anyone can see the noticeable change he has made regarding his location in the box. I think we need data from this year before assuming he's truly the type of hitter that you're saying.

Edited by jay, 07 April 2014 - 12:55 PM.


#23 jay

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Posted 07 April 2014 - 12:56 PM

Here's the link to the story: http://www.startribu.../253299911.html

#24 spycake

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Posted 07 April 2014 - 01:01 PM

Those results, almost exclusively from last season, don't seem relevant at this point. His positioning last year allowed him to hit inside pitches the other way and barely flail at outside pitches. If you hear Chris talk, he'll tell you he's always been a pull hitter and he went to that approach when he realized he could still hit the ball far the other way. It was clearly successful at AA and AAA, but not MLB.

Anyone can see the noticeable change he has made regarding his location in the box. I think we need data from this year before assuming he's truly the type of hitter that you're saying.


He's pulled two balls this season so far: a 250 ft fly out in Chicago, and a double play groundout to third in Cleveland.

I think we need data that he can be a MLB pull hitter before we can say he is one.

#25 CRArko

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Posted 07 April 2014 - 01:08 PM

It appears Johnny Number 5 needs more input either way.

#26 spycake

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Posted 07 April 2014 - 01:10 PM

On last year's Oakland team alone, there were plenty of successful examples.

1B Brandon Moss -- Reached AAA in 2007, one bad MLB year in 2009, finally started again as a 29 year old in 2013 with a .859 OPS on the season.
SS Jed Lowrie -- Reached AAA in 2007, but could never catch on with the Red Sox. Had an okay year with the Astros in 2012 before being acquired by the A's for 2013 and putting up a .791 OPS as a 29 year old.
3B Josh Donaldson -- The A's own AAAA story, reached AAA in 2010. Finally broke out in 2013 at age 27 as a starter and All-Star with a .883 OPS.
OF Josh Reddick -- Stuck between AAA and MLB since 2009 before being acquired by Oakland for 2012. Down year in 2013, but 32 homers in 2012.

2014 -- the year of the Handsome Cola!


No doubt Oakland has found some slugger gems in the rough. But every one of those four guys you list was pulling the ball in at least 23% of their MLB AB *before* their Oakland breakouts.

#27 jay

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Posted 07 April 2014 - 01:20 PM

I think we need data that he can be a MLB pull hitter before we can say he is one.


Never said he is one. And probably won't be. I'd be curious what his 2012 splits were in AA and early in AAA.

My point is it doesn't make sense to assume he's the extreme opposite field hitter he showed in 2013 based on the dramatic change in his approach that anyone can see.

#28 spycake

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Posted 07 April 2014 - 01:22 PM

It appears Johnny Number 5 needs more input either way.


I appreciate the reference, even though I'm the unfortunate target.

Look, I'm not trying to be a stat drone / Debbie Downer, but wasn't this the scouting knock on Cola last year? That he wasn't able to pull the ball at the MLB level?

I get that he moved closer to the plate this spring, and generically speaking he's off to a hot start, but he still hasn't pulled anything yet. And until he does, his success as a MLB power hitter seems about as likely to continue as Andrew Albers being a workhorse ace with K/9 rate around 2.

#29 CRArko

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Posted 07 April 2014 - 02:08 PM

I appreciate the reference, even though I'm the unfortunate target.

Look, I'm not trying to be a stat drone / Debbie Downer, but wasn't this the scouting knock on Cola last year? That he wasn't able to pull the ball at the MLB level?

I get that he moved closer to the plate this spring, and generically speaking he's off to a hot start, but he still hasn't pulled anything yet. And until he does, his success as a MLB power hitter seems about as likely to continue as Andrew Albers being a workhorse ace with K/9 rate around 2.


The guy has been an anomaly, to be sure. On the other hand, the hammerhead shark is out there swimming around. Statistics guarantee outliers as well as norms.

I don't know where he will wind up. This week he is AL co-player of the week. I'm happy for him now.

#30 Boom Boom

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Posted 07 April 2014 - 03:00 PM

I'm happy for the guy.

He'll do great as long as he can keep up that .500 BABIP.