MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Canadian American Association of Professional Baseball is far off the game's main grid, independent from the traditional farm system and down to four teams preserved as a division of a partner league.
The Can-Am also ios where the current AL RBIs leader came from. Yes, Chris Colabello is off to quite the start this season for the Minnesota Twins. Those seven years of obscurity in independent league ball have finally paid off.
"His belief is he's a big league baseball player," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "That says a lot about what's inside of this young man. So it's a great story and continues to get better and better because he's swinging the bat really, really well."
Through seven games, Colabello is batting .370 with four doubles, one home run and 11 RBIs plus a 1.043 on-base-plus-slugging percentage. This is hardly the sample size suggesting these statistics can be maintained over an entire season.
Colabello hit .194 in 55 games last year for the Twins, striking out 58 times in 160 at-bats, a struggle he blamed largely on a lapse in focus and perspective with two strikes.
But he has proved he can slug it out at every level so far.
Even as an everyday player?
"I don't think anything he's done has proven that he can't be," assistant general manager Rob Antony said, adding: "I think he feels comfortable and confident, and the players are confident in him. The manager's gaining confidence in him, and he goes up looking to do some damage. He's going to strike out some, and you take some of the ups and downs, but he's a threat. He's been a clutch performer for us so far."
When the Twins decided during the offseason to move Joe Mauer from catcher to first base, another block was plopped in front of Colabello's unconventional path. He swung so well in spring training, however, the Twins couldn't possibly keep him off the team with their need for more run production. He can give Mauer a break, if necessary, be the designated hitter or play right field.