When the Blue Jays picked up Chris Colabello, off waivers from the Twins, the news was met with a yawn.
At 31 years old, Chris had played a total of 114 MLB games, with a batting line of .214/.284/.364 with 13 home runs in 114 games. He was seen as someone that could play first or DH for Buffalo and not much else.
But, when Michael Saunders' knee didn't heal like the team had hoped and Dalton Pompey was sent out after a poor April, we had need for a left fielder. Chris wasn't a left fielder, but we called him up anyway.
He hit better than any of us could have imagined:
Year Age G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+
2015 31 101 333 55 107 19 1 15 54 2 0 22 96 .321 .367 .520 .886 142
Provided by "Baseball-Reference.com".
Baseball Reference credits him with a 0.7 WAR (really docking him points for his play on defense). Fangraphs had him at 0.8, again bringing his mark down a bunch for his play in LF, which really was the team's fault, not Chris'. That gave him a value of $6.7 million to the team.
He was pretty good in the playoffs too, hitting .282/.317/.513 with 2 home runs in 10 playoff games.
Chris had a .381 wOBA and a 142 wRC+.
Compared to his limited at bats in 2014, Chris walked a little less (6.1% from 6.4) and struck out a little less (2.57% from 30.0).
He hit many more line drives (25.2% from 13.7), fewer ground balls (47.9% from 52.5), fewer fly balls (26.9% from 33.8). And, of course, more of his fly balls left the park (23.4% from 12.8).
His BABIP was .411.
He hit LHP (.308/.364/.571) slightly better than RHP (.326/.368/.500).
He hit about the same on the road (.319/.358/.518) as at home (.323/.375/.521). Apparently he couldn't find the Man in White in the crowd.
And he was very good with RISP (.329/.387/.573).
His first half (.325/.371/.500) and second half (.315/.360/.551) were pretty similar.
Colabello by month:
- May: .368/.417/.568 with 4 home runs and 14 RBI in 25 games.
- June: .300/.330/.422 with 2 home runs and 15 RBI in 23 games.
- July: .224/.286/.429 with 3 home runs and 10 RBI in 17 games.
- August: .386/.413/.705 with 4 home runs and 10 RBI in 16 games.
- Sept/Oct: .309/.377/.527 with 2 home runs and 5 RBI in 20 games.
Defensively? Well, he should have never played in the outfield. As an outfielder, he made 3 errors, for a .959 fielding average. FanGraphs has him at a -44.8 UZR/150. In this case, I think UZR got it right, but it wasn't Colabello's fault that he was out there.
At first base, FanGraphs has him at a -5.6 UZR/150. He made 1 error at the position. I don't really trust UZR for first base, but it seemed to be that Chris was a slightly below average first baseman. I'd think that, with more time at the position he would get to average. He seemed a little unsure out there some of the time.
I think it is fair to say that his best position is DH, but we have Edwin.
As a base runner FanGraphs has him at -1.7 runs worse than average.
Colabello's longest hitting streak was 18 games. His longest streak without a home run was 16 games.
His favorite team to play? He hit .438/.526/.875 with 2 home runs in 5 games against the Mariners
. Least favorite? He hit .200/.182/.200 in 4 games against the Phillies
Chris had an amazing season. I guess the question is can he do it again?
He is 32. How many guys that have there first real season in the majors at 31, go on to have a good career? But then, we really aren't looking for a career, I'd be happy with another good season.
He strikes out too much, he walks to little, but, when he hit the ball, he hit it hard and it generally missed gloves. I'd like to think he can cut down on the strikeouts. But then I don't think he can keep up the .411 BABIP.
The Jays have an interesting decision to make at first base. They have lots of options without adding any one. If Chris hits like last year, he can have the job. If not, Edwin could be the guy again. They could start moving Bautista over to the spot. The Smoak/Colabello tandem worked out (though I'm not up for another season of debating who should play in every single GameThread, man that was annoying). Or, you know, we could go all in and sign Chris Davis.
Whatever happens, we got more out of a Chris than we could have ever expected. It was fun to watch him (well, except when he was in the outfield). He seems like a very good guy, you can't help but hope the best for him.
This might be my favorite defensive play of the post season. It seemed to have everything. A moment of indecision on Colabello's part (he was very close to not getting the out at first), and then he does the right thing by not throwing the ball.