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Better know your Blue Jays 40-man: Chris Colabello

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Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

You know, over the last year, I'm pretty sure we spilled the more virtual ink in discussing Chris Colabello than any other Blue Jays player.

Since we said it all, let's have a few random notes:

  • This year's Baseball Prospectus Annual tells us that no one has had a BABIP higher than Colabello's .411 (in 300 or more PA) since Rogers Hornsby in 1924. Hornsby had another season with a BABIP above .400 and a career mark of .365. We talked about how rare it is to have BABIPs over .400, back here.
  • Also, from the Baseball Prospectus Annual, Chris was 3rd in the AL in OPS, with an 1.316, on the first pitch of an at bat. You'd think that pitchers would stop throwing him first pitch fastballs.
  • As we mentioned, Baseball Prospectus figures him to play 24 games in the outfield. If that happens, I'm joining the fire Gibby crowd. They also figure him to play 57 games at first. I think I'd take the over on that.
  • Steamer predicts he'll hit .262/.318/.449 with 13 home runs in 328 PA. I'll take the over on the slash line stats. I'm thinking/hoping that the drop in BABIP will be offset some by a few more walks and few less strikeouts.
  • Among batters with 300 PA, Chris had the 18th highest strikeout percentage (Smoak was 19th). He's 46th from the bottom, out of 140 players, in walk percentage.

I did a quick search for players who had their rookie season in their early 30s (I know Colabello wasn't a rookie but close enough), with a WAR over 0.5 in the rookie season. I found 6 in the last 25 years. 3 came over from Japan, after having good careers there (Kenji Johjima, Tadahito Iguchi and Nori Aoki), so they weren't great compatibles, but all 3 went on to play 3 more seasons.

The other 3:

David Newhan had a nice rookie season, at age 30, after having a handful of at bats in 3 seasons before that. His rookie year, he hit .311/.361/.453 (kind of driven by a nice ..365 BABIP). He would go on in parts of 4 more seasons, but his rookie year was his best. Career, he played 413 games and hit .253/.312/.404.

Keith Lockhart had his rookie season at age 30, hit .321/.355/.478 and went on to play 8 more seasons. In total he played 979 games and hit .261/.319/.411

Rich Amaral had his rookie season at age 31, after having a handful of at bats the two previous seasons. He had a really nice season, hitting .290/.348/.367. He would go on to play 7 more seasons. In total, he hit .276/.344/.351 in 727 games.

It really doesn't prove anything, other than, yeah you can go on to have a good MLB career, even if you start it in your early 30s (though it might be just a little too late for me (damn)).

I'm thinking that Colabello likely plays 4 or 5 more seasons in the majors, likely as a part-timer, but having a pretty nice career.

Colabello, to me, in Buck and Pat terms, seems to be the prefect 'professional hitter'. Now that I think about it, I wonder if most players that they refer to as professional hitters, are low walks/high strikeout type players.