When Chris Colabello’s first ball in play this season, a line drive with a recorded exit velocity of 103 mph, went directly into the glove of opposing shortstop Brad Miller, it seemed a cruel yet fitting reminder that nothing is given at the start of a new season.
Not even for Colabello, who appears to have used a strong 2015 season to finally lock down a secure job in the major leagues. He produced offense at a level 42% above league average last year when controlling for park factors, and he did so for a playoff team, eventually forcing his way into more than the short side of a platoon with Justin Smoak. He’s not set to play every day for the Toronto Blue Jays this year, but he should have the larger share of a time-split at first.
He appears to have, at long last, made it. Assuming he can keep it up, that is, which few think is a certainty. For most of his baseball career, people have been looking for reasons why Colabello won’t succeed, even now that he’s doing so.