Prospect Watch: Christian Colon, Nick Ahmed

Each weekday during the minor-league season, FanGraphs is providing a status update on multiple rookie-eligible players. Note that Age denotes the relevant prospect’s baseball age (i.e. as of July 1st of the current year); Top-15, the prospect’s place on Marc Hulet’s preseason organizational list; and Top-100, that same prospect’s rank on Hulet’s overall top-100 list.

Nick Ahmed, SS, Arizona Diamondbacks (Profile)
Level: MLB   Age: 24.3   Top-15: N/A  Top-100: N/A
Line: (Triple-A) 366 PA,  12.5 K%, 8.9 BB%, .324/.390/.431 (wRC+ 119)

With Chris Owings on the Disabled List with a left shoulder strain, Ahmed will fill in at short.

Ahmed’s current stint with Arizona will be short. Currently, his job is to keep Owings’ seat warm until he returns from the Disabled List. Ahmed is suited a replacement role on a last place team with little ambition. At a time, he held in higher regard. Recall the 2011 amateur draft where the Atlanta Braves reached outside of Georgia to draft Ahmed out of Connecticut in the second round. Then, after a season and a half with Atlanta, he was shipped to Arizona with others in the Justin Upton trade.

At that time, the Diamondbacks thought they were getting a better player. On paper, Ahmed reads well with cliches abound. Wiry.  Athletic frame. Strong arm. Projectable.  The University of Connecticut product was and is all of these buzz words, but he’s a few steps too slow to be an everyday shortstop and doesn’t have the bat for third. Without a better stick, Ahmed won’t be more than a utility infielder for a second division team. Though, that may be optimistic.


Christian Colon, UT IF, Kansas City Royals (Profile)
Level: MLB   Age: 24.3   Top-15: N/A  Top-100: N/A
Line: (Triple-A) 344PA,  7.5 K%, 8.4 BB%, .296/.360/.384 (wRC+ 98)

The former first round pick has acclimated to life as a utility infielder.

An interesting discussion could be had with regard to Christian Colon’s success. In 2010, Colon was drafted fourth overall out of California State University Fullerton. Fourth. After Harper, Taillon and Machado, at the time, there was said to be a drop off. Of course, of all teams, the Royals were in the unenviable position of selecting fourth.  Colon’s pre-draft video, in hindsight, is uninspiring.

Instincts. Leadership. Average (or worse) tools… Yikes.

Still, outside of the two super-stars — Matt Harvey (7th, Mets) and Chris Sale (13th, White Sox) —  drafted shortly after Colon, the rest of the first round is littered with non-prospects and underachievers (as usual). It is this, in my eyes, that makes Colon is a success story. Yes, the Royals would be better off with Harvey or Sale, but Colon is a major leaguer. Sometimes we lose sight of how difficult an accomplishment that truly is.

Colon is an adequate defender on the left side of the diamond and second base. He’s only recently started at third, but his soft hands and instincts will transfer over. While he won’t hit for power, a versatile bench bat who can work the count and put balls in play has value, especially when earning the league’s minimum salary. This year, expect Colon to spell the 32-year-old Omar Infante at second and Escobar at short. While Danny Valencia is on the roster, he, not Colon will play against tough left-handed starters in place of Moustakas.

Colon will not be an all-time great fourth overall pick — Hall of Famer Barry Larkin and should-be Hall of Famer Kevin Brown are 1-2 in bWAR — but his versatility could be a valuable asset for a long time.

Formerly of Bullpen Banter, JD can be followed on Twitter.

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9 years ago

Congratulations to Colon for making it, but drafting for floor at 1-4 is still dumb.