Christian Colon needs an impactful spring if he’s going to make the Braves’ roster. And Saturday’s five-RBI presentation wasn’t a bad way to start garnering attention.
The non-roster invitee had two hits and five RBIs in the Braves’ 9-2 win over the Cardinals. Colon is one of several utility infielders competing for a bench spot.
“Ever since I got here, everyone’s been treating me really good,” Colon said. “It’s a great organization. So I’m excited to be here, and it’s been great so far.”
Colon has five hits in 13 at-bats, slashing .375/.429/.1.044 in the early days of spring training. Small sample size, sure; but Colon needs to show potential with the bat if he’s going to sneak onto the 25-man roster, and Saturday was a step in the right direction for the 28-year-old.
“I’ve been working on my swing a lot, obviously this whole launch-angle stuff, trying to adjust to some of that,” said Colon, who’s hit .252 in 349 career at-bats. “Try to get the ball in the air at times without getting away from who I am and the approach that I bring.”
Colon blasted an off-speed pitch from Cardinals starter Miles Mikolas past the left-field wall, giving the Braves a 3-0 lead in the first. He singled in the sixth to drive in two more.
“I got good pitches to hit,” Colon said. “Put a good swing on it and it worked out.”
As early as it may be, Colon is making an impression. Braves manager Brian Snitker likes his versatility and is growing more optimistic about his potential as a hitter.
“I didn’t know a lot about him coming in,” Snitker said. “He looks like a guy who can spray the ball around, handles the bat and he’ll make all the routine plays, which is a pretty valuable guy.”
Despite being a fourth overall draft choice and having two moments of postseason heroics with the Royals, including the go-ahead RBI in Game 5 of the 2015 World Series that culminated in the Royals’ championship, Colon hasn’t developed into a reliable player in the bigs.
He slashed .264/.323/.329 in four seasons with the Royals. He hit .152 in 38 plate appearances with the Marlins last season before he was outrighted to Triple-A. He finished with a line of .160/.236/.180 in 57 plate appearances.
Colon is out of minor league options, meaning he’ll be subject to waivers if he doesn’t make the Braves’ initial 25-man roster.