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Insider

Colon could reach MLB quickly

2/22/2010

If clubs come into this year's draft with an organizational need for a shortstop that could get to the big leagues in a relatively short period of time, Cal State Fullerton's Christian Colon might be their target. He's considered a potential first-round talent as a solid defender with an above-average bat, particularly for the position.

Colon stands 6-feet tall and weighs in at about 180 pounds and hit .357/.442/.529 as a sophomore, gathering 26 extra-base hits. He doesn't walk much due to his aggressive approach, but that also helps him limit the strikeouts -- he whiffed just 24 times in 2009. So why isn't Colon a Top 10 candidate?

"For starters, I'm not sure he's the glove he's known to be," said one American League club's area scout. "He fields everything he gets to and makes all the plays around the bag, but I think he lacks top-drawer range."

Colon is also considered a below-average runner, and "the power is questionable," too. He did go 2-for-4 with a walk and a four-bagger Sunday versus Long Beach State, a good sign for the right-handed hitter since the questions surrounding his lateral range and foot speed may mean his bat is his ticket to the first round.

Other college shortstops in this year's class include West Virginia's Jedd Gyorko, Rice's Rick Hague, Georgia Tech's Derek Dietrich and Alabama's Josh Rutledge. Hague and Dietrich are considered college shortstops that likely won't stick at the position in pro ball. But don't worry too much if you're a Rice or G-Tech fan -- both players can hit and will be drafted.

Colon lacks the athleticism that last year's top college shortstop Grant Green possessed, but comes into the season with similar questions. He's a surefire professional, but where he fits in the draft is up in the air.

The Wrap

•Catcher Micah Gibbs of LSU had two hits -- a double and his first home run of the year -- and caught a would-be base stealer attempting to swipe second base. Gibbs, a switch hitter, hit the long ball to center field batting from the right side.

• Jacksonville State outfielder Todd Cunningham went 3-for-4 with a homer and a walk against Texas Tech Sunday. Cunningham, also a switch hitter, belted his first long ball of 2010 from the right side as well. The 6-foot-1, 210-pounder hit .339/.372/.602 with 33 extra-base hits in 2009, and some scouts believe he's easily worthy of first-day consideration.

•Virginia Tech's Austin Wates, No. 10 on the Pre-season Top 50, started in left field and went 2-for-4, remaining red hot for the weekend. Wates went 7-for-12 during the opening series, collecting a double, a triple, a stolen base and three bases on balls.

•Wates' teammate, right-hander Jesse Hahn, started Sunday and went seven scoreless, including holding Mountaineers shortstop Gyorko hitless in four trips to the plate. The 6-foot-5, 200-pound Connecticut native allowed just five hits, did not walk a batter and fanned four. Hahn made just two starts in 2009 after making nine during his freshman campaign.

•Georgia Tech closer Kevin Jacob struck out two in a scoreless ninth Sunday and has fanned five of seven batters he's faced.

•Ball State's Kolbrin Vitek had two more hits Sunday, including a double, and is hitting .500 through the first three games of 2010. He also went four innings on the mound, but surrendered four earned runs on five hits.

Zack Cox singled and lined out versus Vitek, and walked twice versus the Ball State bullpen. He played second base for the first time this season, but made an error on a grounder in the final inning. Cox, a draft-eligible sophomore, is not going to play second in pro ball, and isn't a lock to stick at the hot corner, either.

•Virginia outfielder Jarrett Parker doubled, tripled and walked in six plate appearances versus East Carolina on Sunday, and is off to a .333/.429/.667 start.

•Tennessee catcher Blake Forsythe went 2-for-3 with a double and two walks, and though he started at DH for the Vols, he projects as an offensive-minded catcher and could be a first-day selection.

•Texas catcher Cameron Rupp went 0-for-3 with a walk Sunday and is hitting .400 with a .538 on-base percentage. He's yet to tally an extra-base hit, but hit 11 home runs in 2009.

•Arkansas right-hander Brett Eibner struck out five and allowed just two hits in three shutout innings versus Ball State -- striking out the side in the first, including getting Vitek swinging.

•The CSN Coyotes had Sunday off, but here's some video of Bryce Harper during batting practice from the weekend series. The final cut is Harper doubling to the opposite field on a 92-mph fastball.