While the Minnesota Twins still struggle to see a record above .500, designated hitter and first baseman Chris Colabello has been nothing but determined to help the team reach that goal and a possible chance at postseason.
At 30 years old, Colabello was not within immediate eyesight for any Major League roster following school. Graduating from Assumption College in 2005, Colabello spent the following seven years playing for Worcestor in the Can-Am League before the Twins invited him to play Double-A ball in 2012. During that year with the New Britain team, Colabello hit .284/.358/.478 in 134 games, including 19 home runs and 98 RBI.
Spending the first two months of last season in Triple-A Rochester, his numbers slightly improved in which he hit .352/.427/.639 in 89 games, including 24 home runs, 25 doubles, and 76 RBI. The Twins called Colabello up to Major League ball, where in 181 plate appearances, he struggled to produce similar numbers, hitting just .194/.287/.344 with seven home runs and five doubles in 55 games.
In December, Colabello had the opportunity to sign with the Korean Baseball Organization overseas for $1 million and guaranteed playing time. Before this season, the Twins organization did not have a spot assured for Colabello and was offering less pay. Following his heart, Colabello has stayed with the Twins, where he has so far seen playing time in right field, first base, and designated hitter.
“I believed I could be here,” Colabello said. “I believed I had something to offer here. If not, I definitely would’ve gone over there. This was what I wanted to do.”
And staying here was a great decision for the Twins. Colabello is one of a very few players leading the Twins lineup and setting the pace for others to follow. Playing in all nine games with 36 plate appearances so far this season, Colabello has hit .278/.316/.472 with four doubles, one home run, and is currently leading the American League with 11 RBI along with Jose Abreu of the Chicago White Sox.
So impressive has he been, the MLB Network announced Monday that Colabello was named the American League Co-Player of the Week along with Los Angeles Angels left fielder Josh Hamilton.
The biggest keys to such an early success for Colabello this season has been a boost in confidence, and a fix in his batting stance by moving closer to the plate.
And Colabello hasn’t been the only one who has been fairly successful so far this season for the Twins. Fellow designated hitter and outfielder Jason Kubel currently leads the Twins in hitting at .448/.484/.690 in eight games and 29 plate appearances, including four doubles, one home run, and six RBI.
However, there has still been question as to whether Colabello can keep up such a successful streak. Being not too far into the season, there is a possibility that Colabello could eventually burn out and fall to the wayside later on, especially if he were to get injured. With the way the rest of the roster numbers look, there really isn’t anyone who is ready to take Colabello’s place if that should happen. But, as long as he stays healthy and swings the bat like he has been, then Colabello should be fine throughout the rest of the season.
And, as long as Colabello continues to produce the numbers, he’ll continue seeing play time at DH along with Kubel, first base, and right field. And with the way the Twins season has been going so far, those numbers as well as Kubel’s are desperately needed.