If you haven’t heard much about Edwar Colina, that’s OK. Twins Daily has enjoyed covering the right-hander for a few years now.
Colina signed as an 18-year-old in late September of 2015 from Venezuela. He spent a season in the Dominican Summer League. He moved up to Elizabethton in 2017 and was named the Appalachian League Pitcher of the Year. In 2018, he spent most of the season at Cedar Rapids where he went 7-4 with a 2.48 ERA in 98 innings. He finished that season with two starts in Ft. Myers.
In 2019, he started in Ft. Myers and pitched very well in both Ft. Myers and Pensacola. In 92 2/3 combined innings, he posted a 2.23 ERA and recorded more than a strikeout per inning. He also pitched in two games in Triple A.
He earned his first invitation to big-league spring training this year and was impressing the coaching staff at that time. He stuck around Ft. Myers throughout the quarantine. Unfortunately, he came down with Covid-19, so he was unable to join the Twins immediately at the start of Summer Camp.
However, he quickly passed the tests and was able to do some rehab work at the Twins facilities in Ft. Myers before joining those players working at the Twins alternate training site in St. Paul.
He said, “After everything started, I was in Ft. Myers. I kept working, never stopped. So I was ready for this.”
Ready for this? Yes.
Expecting this? No.
Sure, earlier this week we learned that Colina was on the team’s 12-player playoff taxi squad, but when Colina woke up this morning, he had no idea what news was coming his way.
“I was coming down to the breakfast room (when he found out). I was not expecting this. It was a big surprise and I was very excited.” Colina added. “It’s hard to explain how I feel right now. It’s something I’ve been waiting for my whole career. I don’t have the words to explain how I feel right now.”
While it may have surprised Colina, Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said that it was something that they have been thinking about for a long time.
“We’ve talked a lot about Colina throughout the year. He’s a very exciting young arm. The kind of guy that has the stuff that can potentially be dominant in a shorter stint-type of role.”
It is fun to think about what Colina could do for a bullpen in the future. It’s exciting to think what he could do in a role yet this season.
Baseball is for people of all shapes and sizes. Jorge Alcala is tall and thin and uses a whip-like arm action to reach into the upper-90s. Edwar Colina stands just 5-11 and weighs in around 250 pounds. He hits triple-digits by driving with his massive lower half.
That’s right. Triple digits. And not “just” 100. There are some reports that he’s reaching that number that Brusdar Graterol reached in a start in Pensacola last year that got everyone excited.
Colina didn’t want to verify that report, but said humbly, and with a smile, “I don’t know about that.”
But what is really exciting is that his fastball may not even be his best pitch.
Colina noted, “I think my best pitch right now is my slider. I’ve been working so hard on it.”
What has he been working on with that pitch? I’ve been trying to be more aggressive with my slider. Throwing it more, getting it better. That is basically what I’ve been working on.
More from a former minor league teammate, Nick Brown:
It will be interesting to see how Colina is used through this final weekend of the season. Is he just another arm available in case they need one? Could he be a potential bullpen arm in the playoffs?
Baldelli only said that he would be used, “We have an excellent group in our bullpen, so we probably have these innings covered for a period of time. You want to use all your bullets, and he is certainly a guy that can miss a ton of bats and has great stuff. Get him activated. Get him into a game or two. Evaluate at that point if what we’re looking at is a good option.”
Who knows? If he handles his opportunities this weekend well and is able to keep cool and calm while displaying a potentially dominant pitch mix, he could be part of the playoff bullpen.
Colina isn’t concerned about what role he will be used in this weekend or going forward. He feels ready and prepared for anything.
“I’ve been working a lot of different spots in the bullpen since spring training, so I will be ready for anything.”
When Colina makes his MLB debut this weekend, he will be the 24th pitcher to throw for the Twins this season and the 44th player.
The Other Side
To add Colina to the 40-man roster, someone had to be removed. In this case, the Twins DFAd Homer Bailey.
Rocco Baldelli acknowledged that it wasn’t easy to do.
“Homer Bailey, unfortunately we had to Designate for Assignment. That was not an easy thing either. Obviously we’re going to use his spot and have an opportunity to watch Colina pitch. Homer was a real professional in every way for us. Didn’t get the opportunity to pitch as much as we wanted him to, as much as he wanted to. He handled everything the right way. He worked hard. He was able to get out there late in the season and helped us to win a game in an important time in the year for us. We’re thankful for everything he brought to the table, and we’re sad to see him go.”