Prospect Profile: Brant Colamarino

Brant Colamarino, like Jeremy Brown, is famous right now for all the wrong reasons. Colamarino, the A's seventh round pick in the 2002 June Draft, was highlighted by <I>Moneyball</I> author Michael Lewis as an example of the A's willingness to ignore unathletic-looking body types when a player had demonstrated an ability to hit.

In the book, an anonymous A's minor league coach is quoted as saying that the pudgy "Colamarino has titties". However, former A's Assistant General Manager Paul DePodesta also describes Colamarino in book as a real sleeper talent. "No one in baseball will agree," DePodesta said, "but Colamarino might be the best hitter in the country." So, perhaps unfairly, Colamarino began his minor league career with the burden of high expectations and the embarrassment of an unflattering and public portrayal of his physical appearance.

Brant Colamarino, 5'11'', 200 LB, L/L

Year

Team

Lg

Age

AVG

OBP

SLG

AB

H

2B

3B

HR

BB

K

XBH

2002

VAN

NW

21

.259

.348

.382

228

59

6

2

6

27

54

14

2003

KANE CTY

MID

22

.259

.350

.426

498

129

26

0

19

59

101

45

2004

MOD

CAL

23

.355

.450

.601

183

65

8

2

11

28

23

21

2004

MID

TXS

23

.273

.333

.483

304

83

22

2

8

27

61

32



Colamarino's first two professional seasons were relatively nondescript. He hit .259 in both campaigns, the first season in Vancouver and the second season in Kane County. Colamarino did flash some impressive power in the second half of the 2003 season. After starting his season sluggishly, Colamarino turned in a red-hot July and August and finished the season with 19 homers, 26 doubles and 80 RBI.

This season, Colamarino began the campaign in Single-A Modesto. Itching to prove that he was more then just a funny footnote in Moneyball, Colamarino arrived in spring training twenty pounds lighter then he was in 2003. He spent the majority of the spring with the minor league camp, but he made his one at-bat with the major league club a memorable one. Colamarino hit a two-run homerun in the 9th inning of a game against the Kansas City Royals, starting his 2004 season on the right foot.

Colamarino didn't miss a beat when he arrived in Modesto to start the season. He quickly became one of the top hitters in the California League. In 50 games, Colamarino was among the league leaders in batting average (.355), homers (11), RBI (41) and on-base percentage (.450). On May 30, he was awarded a promotion to Double-A Midland.

The lefthanded first baseman had a good first week in Midland, but then hit a wall as he struggled with strikeouts and seemed to lose his power stroke. However, after a slow start, he recovered to finish the season with a respectable line of .273 with 8 homeruns, 22 doubles and 50 RBI in only 77 games played.

Through three seasons, Colamarino has shown flashes of being the type of hitter DePodesta was so excited about back in 2002. He has demonstrated good power to all fields and the ability to be a middle-of-the-order RBI man. However, he has failed to show the plate discipline that he possessed in college. If Colamarino is going to move up on the A's depth chart at first base, he will have to show the same patience at the plate that fellow first base prospect Dan Johnson does.

Despite his large frame, Colamarino has shown surprising dexterity around the first base bag. While he'll probably never win a Glove Glove, Colamarino has the capacity to become an above-average fielder. He projects to be a Matt Stairs-type hitter if he can regain his college batting eye. He figures to start the 2005 season in Midland and has a chance to move up to Sacramento, especially if both Johnson and Graham Koonce are not with the River Cats next season.


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