The data below are taken from Baseball-Reference and Fangraphs. I’ve captured everything Colon has done in the majors since 2002 through 2009, the last time he pitched in the big leagues.
That table isn’t very encouraging. Krispy’s career stats show that once upon a time he was a reliable pitcher. Unfortunately, that appears to be based largely on what he did from 1998 to 2005. After being a reliable innings eater year-in-year-out, Colon hasn’t pitched more than 100 innings since 2005 and hasn’t come close since 2007. After missing all of 2010, it seems unlikely that Bartolo will be able to make the team this season, let alone give the Yankees much in the way of durability.
Digging a bit deeper, it appears that Colon also became inconsistent beginning in the 2004 season. After never posting an ERA above 4.09 since he had become a frontline starter, Colon saw his ERA bloat to 5.01 in 2004, his first subpar full season in the majors. After that, apart from his 2005 campaign, his WHIP elevated permanently, and his ERA and FIP bounced around from being good in some seasons to bad in others. The combined picture is one of a player who has a fork sticking out of his back, not one who is primed for a comeback.
Once upon a time Big Fat Bartolo Colon was a good pitcher. He broke into the majors with the Indians in 1997 and settled into their rotation. He also peaked with them, posting a 121 ERA+ and a 1.363 WHIP over six seasons in Cleveland. Unfortunately for the Yankees, a variety of metrics suggest that time has passed. Colon didn’t appear to have much left in the tank the last time he pitched in the majors. It’s unlikely he has anything now. Making matters worse, according to Baseball-Reference the pitcher he’s most similar to through his career is Freddy Garcia. You can’t make this stuff up.
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