Whenever Chris Colabello drives the ball into the gap I can’t help but smile. The long-time Indy standout is back on the radar, this time as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays.
For years Colabello put up numbers, numbers that would make any manager proud. Unfortunately, those numbers were in the Independent Baseball leagues. Indy ball is getting more recognition now than ever, but back in 2005 at the age of 21, no one really understood what he could provide.
While attending Assumption College, Colabello became one of the most prolific hitters the school has ever seen. He was a career .350 hitter who also hit for power (24 home runs and 40 doubles) in his four collegiate seasons. When no one signed him upon graduation, he began a seven-year journey to the Major Leagues.
After signing a minor league deal with the Minnesota Twins organization, Colabello continued to prove naysayers wrong and went on to have one of the best overall minor league seasons one could ever hope for. In 2013, only his second affiliated season, he was unanimously voted the International League MVP after hitting .352 with 24 home runs and driving in 76.
Enter the 2014 season and Colabello was named the starting first baseman for the Twins. He started off on a torrid clip batting .346. An unfortunate undisclosed injury hamstrung the current Jay, resulting in 7-83 slump and a demotion to Triple A.
After the Jays claimed him off waivers from the Twins this past December, he was vying for a job with the big club, however, since first base has enough qualified participants, (Edwin Encarnacion, Justin Smoak, Danny Valencia), the Jays designated him for assignment.
A bump in the road isn’t the worst thing in the world. In 23 games for the Jays’ Triple A affiliate, Buffalo, he is currently leading the club with five homers and 18 RBI. His call-up is another highlight in his strange, but otherwise successful career. For someone undrafted to put 11 professional seasons on his resume, any opportunity to produce at the Major League level is full of opportunity.
“Enjoy the moment as much as possible, try to help this team win,” he said Wednesday before making his second straight start in left field. “At the end of the day I’ve been very blessed to have the opportunity to get to the big leagues. Every day is about embracing moments for me. You can get caught up in thinking about what’s in the future, what’s in the past. It wears on you and I’m tired of doing that.”
Since the call-up, Colabello has performed exactly as the Jays wanted and provided a huge spark to a sporadic offense. In three games, he’s hit .583 in three games collecting seven hits, three of which are for extra bases.