Behind the Toronto Blue Jays’ top-ranked offense, many names come to mind: Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, Josh Donaldson, Russell Martin, Jose Reyes. But there’s one name that almost nobody thinks of. He wears number 15 and is the polar opposite of what a true “star” would look like: Chris Colabello.
Colabello is the prime example of a late-bloomer. He made his MLB debut with the Minnesota Twins in 2013 at the age of 29. He played Division IIbaseball at Assumption College and after that, hopped around the minors for many years. In early 2014, after making the Twins roster, he jumped onto the scene and passed Hall of Famer Kirby Puckett‘s franchise-record of 26 RBIs in the month of April by getting 27.
And then he slumped in 2014, before being sent down again. Completely deflating any hopes of success in the big leagues.
But then 2015 happened and is still happening.
At the beginning of the 2015 season, Colabello was claimed off of waivers by the Jays, and was designated to Triple-A Buffalo. In April with Buffalo, Colabello won International League Player of the Month. The Jays had no choice but to purchase his contract, so he was called up to the Major Leagues on May 5th.
And what a difference he’s made.
Since being called up, he’s been one of the true leaders in bringing the Blue Jays offense to the top of baseball, with his .337 batting average, .378 OBP, .503 slugging percentage and .881 OPS. Along with six home runs and 28 RBIs, most would say he’s had a pretty good season.
He’s also one of the prime reasons why the Jays are one game out of first place in the AL East.
With the addition of Colabello, the Blue Jays have strengthened their already-tenacious offense. He bats 5th in the lineup, which only adds to the fact that there are no easy outs in this lineup.
Colabello has become such a big part of this Blue Jays team, that he’s actually become an x-factor for their success. The AL East has become a five-team race (Boston Red Sox are winners of 8 of 13 games and are within seven games of first). The extra push that is necessary to leap-frog the Baltimore Orioles, Tampa Bay Rays and New York Yankees has become Colabello.
Colabello could be the guy who finally drives the Jays into the playoffs and possibly even farther. Will he be the next Joe Carter? We’ll have to see.
But unlike last year, it looks as though Colabello is here to stay.
And the Blue Jays couldn’t be happier.