Colon is finding his rhythm, improving his stock
The last time Indians Baseball Insider sat down with Joe Colon for a feature story, he said his focus was finding consistency. Two seasons later, Colon’s focus follows a similar pattern. This time around, he’s focusing on rhythm.
Colon, 24, was selected by the Cleveland Indians in the 12th round of the 2009 draft out of Puerto Rico. The 6-foot right-hander spent the 2013 season with the high-A Carolina MudCats, though he missed a few weeks due to some arm soreness. Now, Colon has arguably had the most successful season of his career, crafting a 7-4 record and 2.84 ERA through 15 starts with the double-A Akron RubberDucks.
Colon said he attributes his current success to the previous season, where he posted a 5-3 record and 3.13 ERA through 15 games with the MudCats. Colon didn’t mind the Carolina League, despite its tough reputation due to its scant amount of competition, having only eight teams.
“It’s actually something that helped me out because that’s something you’re going to face in the future,” Colon said through interpreter and RubberDucks’ hitting coach Rouglas Odor. “In the big leagues, you see the same teams over and over again, the same hitters over and over again, and I had a taste of it last year.”
Now, Colon says he’s seeking a taste of rhythm and consistency. Just like he knows facing the same teams repeatedly can be beneficial, he knows repeating the same habits can also be helpful. He said he still feels he needs to be more consistent on the mound, something that starts with his rhythm.
“I’m working on having rhythm after every single pitch,” Colon explained.
From the rhythm of the game to his mechanics on the mound, Colon said proper pacing is key. Even his preparation before games has changed since previous seasons, a reflection of Colon’s testament to stay healthy this year.
“Every pitcher has a routine so I’m concentrating on those routines, whether it’s in the weight room, whether it’s in practice, playing catch or doing side work,” he said.
Colon suffered an elbow strain in 2010, which required him to sit the season. As a result, he remains on a pitch count of about 95 per start.
“I feel comfortable,” Colon said. “I feel that’s why I’m working, to be able to throw around 90, 95 pitches.”
So far, the sinker-baller has not seemed confined by pitch counts or plagued by inconsistency. On June 3, he was named the Cleveland Indians Minor League Player of the Week for tossing a complete game shutout May 26 against the Reading Fightin Phils. In his most recent outing, Colon held the Erie Seawolves to just one run through seven innings.
As the RubberDucks enter the second half of their season, Colon hopes to remain the team’s most formidable starter. His goal for the year was to maintain consistency and find his own rhythm. If he stays healthy and his sinker continues to frustrate hitters, Colon remains on track at just the right pace.
Stephanie is a crime and general assignment reporter for The Morning Journal in Lorain, Ohio. She’s an alumna of Cleveland State University with a degree in Journalism and Promotional Communication. You can follow her on Twitter @7thInningSteph.