2017 IBI Top 75 Prospects: #48 Joseph Colon

The 2017 countdown continues with an arm who has battled through injury after injury in his long minor league career but always had a very interesting power sinker - and last season was able to make his Major League debut and show some potential...

48. Joseph Colon – Right-handed Pitcher

Born: 02/18/1990 - Height: 6’0” - Weight: 180 - Bats: Right - Throws: Right

Facts & Info: Colon was selected in the 12th round of the 2009 Draft out of Huertas Junior College in Puerto Rico.  The Cubs originally tried to sign him as a street free agent back in 2008, but because he was in enrolled in a junior college he had to enter the draft.

Stuff: Colon is a strong pitcher who is very physical on the mound and has a very strong lower half that he uses well. He is a no-nonsense pitcher who goes after hitters looking for early contact with the goal to rack up a lot of groundballs. He features a two-seam plus fastball that sits at 92-95 MPH and flashes 97 MPH, and has some good movement with some heavy sink and good run to the bottom of the zone. He used to sit 90-92 MPH and touch 95-97 MPH when he used to start, so the move to the bullpen in 2015 helped his average velocity tick up and make his fastball more powerful. He shows good command of his sinker as he consistently pounds the bottom of the zone with it and is able to spot it to both sides of the plate and even get some swing and miss with it. His average changeup is probably the better of his two secondary offerings as he has made some strides with it the last few seasons to be more consistent commanding it and with the good depth he creates with it, and when it is on it flashes plus potential. His fringy slurvy slider is still coming along and lacks consistency with the shape and command of it.

Delivery & Intangibles: Colon actually was a third baseman for most of his amateur career but moved to the mound shortly before getting drafted. He has really come along on the mound and shows a mechanically sound delivery that has some athleticism to it and that he repeats well because of the good rhythm and tempo he maintains with it. He does a great job of using the strength in his lower half to his advantage to generate some good energy and get his ball on a good downhill plane. He is efficient with his pitch count because of the way he aggressively attacks the zone and is not afraid to challenge hitters and pitch to contact. He is a hard worker who has some intelligence on the mound and shows a willingness to be coached.

Focus: The biggest obstacle in Colon’s career has been his inability to consistently stay on the field as he’s missed a good portion of every pro season either due to injury or a suspension. After coming on board and pitching half a season at rookie level Arizona in 2009, he missed the entire 2010 season because of Tommy John surgery. He missed the first half of the 2011 season returning from Tommy John surgery and missed significant time in both 2012 and 2013 because of a forearm strain and other arm issues. He suffered a shoulder injury at the end of the 2014 season that required offseason surgery and limited him at the beginning of the 2015 season. Last season he was healthy, but he missed the first 50 games of the season because of a second positive test for a drug of abuse. In order to improve his durability the Indians want to continue to tweak his delivery so he uses his lower half a little better which in turn will take more pressure and stress off his arm. He could use more refinement with his pitch sequencing, fastball command and more consistently locating to the bottom of the zone. Probably the biggest key is for him to find a reliable go-to secondary offering which will make his sinker even more effective. While he throws a high percentage of sinkers, if he is able to get his slider tighter and have better shape to it then it will give him a pitch to help offset what hitters are seeing from his sinker and changeup and potentially a pitch he can put hitters away with.

Future: Because of his inconsistent time on the mound and all of the interruptions from injuries and other issues it has slowed Colon’s development and limited the needed improvement of his secondary stuff. As a starter he lacked the stuff to consistently flip a lineup a few times, so the move to the bullpen two years ago has helped his stuff and abilities play up. Now that all of the injuries are behind him and he has been repurposed to the bullpen, he has turned himself into a good middle relief prospect who can eat innings, work quick and get a lot of groundballs. The suspension last year really ruined the momentum he had built up with a good 2015 showing and then in winter ball, so the hope is that he can kick start things again this year and get back on track. Even with the suspension last season he was able to make it to Cleveland and made his pro debut, though he was a bit overmatched and suffered through the typical rookie reliever struggles. The Indians feel he is about ready to help them in the bullpen and will probably have him open the season at Triple-A Columbus to finish off his development and be on standby when a need arises in the bullpen over the course of the season.

Ranking History: #52 (2016), #35 (2015), #33 (2014), #68 (2013), #92 (2012), UR (2011), UR (2010)

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