Bartolo Colon Is Baseball's Renaissance Man
As someone who hates watching pitchers hit, even I must confess my love for Bartolo Colon.
Colon is an accomplished pitcher. While he does not have the pure stuff he once did and cannot come close to matching the velocity and breaking pitches of his younger teammates, Colon has managed to survive -- and even thrive -- as a soon-to-be 43-year-old Major League pitcher.
On Monday night, Colon was masterful against an admittedly horrendous Atlanta Braves team, pitching eight innings while giving up no runs on seven hits with no walks and seven strikeouts.
He threw just 99 pitches in the Mets' 4-1 win over Atlanta. And the victory was the 220th of his career, which puts him in second place all-time in wins among pitchers born in the Dominican Republic.
|1||Juan Marichal (HOF)||1960||1975||10||243||142||2.89|
|3||Pedro Martinez (HOF)||1992||2009||8||219||100||2.93|
Colon passed Pedro Martinez with his victory last night and, if he's able to hang on for a few more years, has a legitimate chance of breaking Juan Marichal's mark of 243.
Bartolo Colon with 220 wins now has more victories than 14 Hall of Fame starters. He's also probably older than most of them.
— Joe Posnanski (@JPosnanski) May 3, 2016
Colon does all this featuring a fastball that averages 88.2 miles per hour. However, it is the movement on his two-seamer that continues to keep hitters at bay. He also gives nothing away.
Bartolo Colon’s miniscule 1.25 BB/9 rate since start of 2013 season is lowest in @MLB (min. 500 IP). pic.twitter.com/pUui441CDw
— MLB Stat of the Day (@MLBStatoftheDay) May 3, 2016
And while Colon did make a little history on the mound, that is not what anyone was talking about after Monday night's game. It was his presence at the plate which, unless you're new to the game, has become legendary.
Again, I don't like watching pitchers hit, and I'd love nothing more than to see the designated hitter come to the National League. After all, MLB pitchers are averaging a .146/.174/.182 slash line this year, with a wRC+ of -6.
They are walking rally killers.
But there are exceptions to the rule. Bartolo Colon is one of them, and this is what we're used to seeing from him at the plate.
#BigSexy, pure concentration. pic.twitter.com/xM2tq4tg6t
— MLB GIFS (@MLBGIFs) May 3, 2016
He's a national treasure.
But then, something remarkable happened last night.
BARTOLO EXIT VELOCITY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! pic.twitter.com/tBtpW1Otr4
— Cut4 (@Cut4) May 3, 2016
Unfortunately for Colon, the ball hooked foul. But the fact he was able to hit a ball that hard, with an exit velocity of 101.9 miles per hour, is extraordinary. However, it wasn't the hardest-hit ball by a pitcher on Monday night.
That honor went to St. Louis' Adam Wainwright against the Phillies.
.@UncleCharlie50 wanted to let us know that pitchers can hit.. and can hit it far! #STLCards pic.twitter.com/917OBPGEen
— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) May 3, 2016
Wainwright is widely regarded as one of the best pure athletes in the sport, and there were some who considered drafting him as an outfielder. His abilities at the plate were evidenced by that tater, which left his bat at 105.4 miles per hour.
But Monday night was Colon's night. He got a historic victory and smacked the bejesus out of a ball to boot.
When Bartolo Colon comes to the plate, don't leave your seats. You'll only be cheating yourself.