With the recent non-tenders of Jace Peterson and Danny Santana, the Braves could have headed into Spring Training with a bit of an empty bench. Today, they took the first step in rectifying that situation, signing infielder Christian Colon to a minor league deal, per Robert Murray of Fanrag Sports.
Originally from Cayey, Puerto RIco, Colon played high school ball in Texas, Utah, and California before being drafted in the 10th round of the 2007 amateur draft by the Padres, but chose not to sign and instead went to Cal State Fullerton, where he was an All-American at shortstop. He was eventually drafted fourth overall by the Royals in the 2010 draft. He made it as high as #51 on Baseball America’s top prospect ranking prior to the 2011 season, but didn’t really take off in the minors and quickly fell off ranking lists.
Colon spent a few years (2012 through 2014) bouncing around between AA and AAA, before finally getting about 50 major league plate appearances as a member of the 2014 Royals squad. He continued to get limited major league duty over the next three seasons before being designated for assignment in May 2017. Colon was eventually claimed by the Marlins and manage some big league action in June for Miami before again being designated for assignment and finishing the rest of his season in the at the AAA level. He elected free agency following the season’s conclusion.
For his major league career, Colon has managed just 386 plate appearances and a 73 wRC+ (.252/.315/.315). He’s amassed just 0.7 fWAR, which is pretty emblematic of his status as a generic bench option. He’s appeared at second base, third base, and shortstop and has put up good (but very small sample) defensive metrics, and that kind of defensive floor may have been a factor in the Braves’ decision to sign him to a minor league deal. Colon has essentially no power to speak of and relies on spraying the ball over the field while rarely whiffing, but has had poor contact quality to date, and isn’t really fast enough to make the groundball profile work.
Despite just a half-season of major league PAs under his belt, Colon is probably best known for a couple of instances of postseason heroics with the 2014 and 2015 Royals teams. In 2014, his pinch-hit infield single scored the tying run in the American League Lightning Round Game, and led him to scoring the winning run later in the inning. In 2015, he drove in the winning run in Game 5 of the World Series despite not taking an official plate appearance for the four weeks prior, marking it the first time in history that a player’s first World Series appearance resulted in him delivering the Series-winning run.
Colon will presumably be invited to Spring Training and battle for a bench spot with Johan Camargo and other additions that the Braves will surely make in the coming days and weeks. Stay tuned.