Colon appears to be one of the safer picks in the draft. The 6-foot, 180 pound shortstop punched his ticket into the first round last summer with Team USA. He was the best hitter on the national team, using wooden bats. He probably won't stick at shortstop in the pros, but his range is good enough for him to slide over to second. His bat can be considered solid but not elite. He has a good approach at the plate and looks like he may have added a little muscle to his lower body in the past year. The other big warning sign here is Scott Boras is his advisor. That comes with all the caveats you'd imagine. Also notice that Colon is a junior and will want to sign for much more than his slot.
Colon probably have one of the highest floors in this draft. His bat will play very nicely at second even if he doesn't develop. His calling card is his defense, which will be big league ready pretty quickly. Slow foot speed will drive him off of shortstop, but it hasn't stopped him from stealing 12 bases in 18 attempts this season. His bat will hold him back ultimately, so if you're looking for a floor, defensive replacement on a major league bench isn't bad. When you think about the probabilities of a draft picks actually making it that far, Colon has to have one of the best shots of any first round pick.
There's the rub. His ceiling just isn't that high. If I said he could end up like Orlando Hudson, that might make you too excited. I'm not sure his defense is that good, but he may end up somewhere between Hudson, Ray Durham and someone like Mike Fontenot. He could develop good line drive power and hit 30 or 40 doubles a year. Combine that with a headiness on the basepaths to steal 20 a year and you've got a pretty good player. I doubt that kind of power manifests, though.
pick him? If so, where?
As I mentioned, the spectre of Scott Boras looms over him. I expect Colon will want to sign for no less than 2.5 million, no matter where he gets picked. It's looking more and more like he won't be around at No. 19, as some of the later projections this week have him in the Top 15.
On top of that, I'm not sure the Astros would value the kind of player he represents. They did with Jason Castro, but he played a premium defensive position and is a better athlete than Colon. Still, I could see the Astros fooling everyone by taking him at No. 8 and going over slot to sign him early. Colon is the kind of hitter who can be ready quickly, like by 2012. If that's the case, I could see the attraction for the Astros, but still doubt this gets done.
Where is he projected to go right now?
Keith Law has him at No. 24 to the Giants.
Andy Seiler has him at No. 24 to the Giants.
Deep Leagues has him at No. 12 to the Reds.
Jonathan Mayo has him at No. 25 to the Cardinals.
Perfect Game USA has him at No. 24 to the Giants.
Baseball America has him at No. 12 to the Reds.
Frankie Piliere has him at No. 11 to the Blue Jays.
Kevin Goldstein has him at No. 10 to the Athletics.
John Sickels has him at No. 7 to the Mets.
Bibliography (Scouting Reports and video)
Below the jump.
Tremendous defender despite average athleticism, line-drive hitter, .333/.436/.640, 21/10 BB/K
Colon was one of the better players on the summer showcase circuit in 2006 but went to Fullerton due to signability and concerns about whether a player as slow-footed as he is could play shortstop in pro ball.
Since then he's established himself as a likely first-rounder in 2010 because he has shown he can play the position despite his lack of foot speed -- he's a 30 runner -- with good range and great hands to make up for the lack of quickness. At the plate, Colon is usually pretty short to the ball with fringe-average power and a sound approach, although he occasionally gets into trouble when he lengthens his swing to get coverage on the outer half, at which point he's more likely to hit the ball in the air instead of spraying the field with line drives.
His history of adequate offensive performance, strong defense, and good feel for the game make him a high-probability major league regular.