Bartolo Colon wants back in, so could the Colorado Rockies be a good fit?
Bartolo Colon is 48 years old. He is the oldest player to hit his first home run. He is a four-time All-Star with his first All-Star nod coming at the 1998 All-Star Game at Coors Field (home of the Colorado Rockies) and his latest nod coming in the 2016 All-Star Game at Petco Park. Colon won the Cy Young Award back in 2005.
Despite all logic though, Bartolo Colon is trying to get back into baseball. Could he make history with the Colorado Rockies?
Full disclosure: I have no insider knowledge. I was literally inspired by this video by the great YouTube channel Baseball Doesn’t Exist. Watching the video, I realized that I had seen a once great aging veteran try to make a resurgence before. Did someone say Dale Murphy? Jason Giambi? Ian Desmond? Daniel Murphy? Matt Holliday? Matt Kemp?
The troubling thought that the Colorado Rockies could actually look at “Big Sexy” inspired me to look deeper into Colon’s analytics and make a startling discovery. Bartolo Colon would probably not be the worst pitcher at Coors Field. Not great by any means, but probably better than Chi Chi Gonzalez.
So what could be the benefits of signing the once-great ace?
While the Rockies claim they are competing this year, just like they do every year, the lack of offseason moves suggests the team will look at young pitchers, like Ryan Rolison, to be making their debuts this year. While they could be ready in the season, bridge pitchers will be necessary to hold rotation spots until the young guys are ready for the show. Bartolo Colon could be an ideal candidate for such a role.
The funny part is that even if he did join the club, he would not be able to pass the current club record holder for oldest player, another once-great player trying to find himself in Colorado, Jaime Moyer. Bartolo Colon is turning 49 in May, Jaimie Moyer made his last start at 49 years and 191 days old. Unfortunately for Colon, he would need to make sure that he was able to stay in the rotation until at least 2023 to possibly steal that club record away.
Colon has a low spin rate and a decent ground ball percentage, showing that he has potential as a Coors Field pitcher. Unfortunately, though, we will have to get into his deeper analytics in the con section.
While he has a decent spin rate and ground ball percentage, Colon is not ideal for the Colorado Rockies in several other key aspects. He has a high Hard Hit percentage, low strikeout percentage, and a high home run percentage, all of which is not ideal for pitching at altitude. On top of this, Colon relies the most on his curveball, a pitch that is notorious for losing its movement at Coors.
He does, however, have a slider, and of course his fastball, in his arsenal. If he wanted hope of being successful at Coors, Colon would need to move his fastball and slider into his top two slots, something that would be unlikely for a 48-year-old man to do so late in his career.
Using my analytics based list from my last article, we can see that Colon is actually only the 10th-worst pitcher available on the list, several spots higher than member of last year’s rotation, Chi Chi Gonzalez.
While it didn’t fit neatly into a pro or con list, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Colon’s bat. The imminent universal DH means that, if he were signed, fans would miss out on one of the selling points for Colon — his horrible, wonderful swing. While a pro for team performance (having someone else in that spot in the lineup would certainly help), losing the helmet flying would at least be disappointing for fans.
If the Colorado Rockies were to give Colon a shot in 2022, it would not be the end of the world. In a season that looks to be just as mediocre as the last, he may be one of the few fun, bright, spots that is looking to go nowhere. The analytics aren’t there to support him coming to Coors Field, but man, it could be fun.
Data for this article was provided by Baseball Reference, Baseball Savant, and Wikipedia