MICHAEL COLLA
RIGHT HANDED PITCHER
Born: December 23, 1986
Height: 6′ 2″
Weight: 220
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Drafted: 14th Round, 414th Overall, 2008
How Acquired: Draft
College: Arizona
Agent: N/A

WTM’S PIRATE PLAYER PROFILES

According to Baseball America, Colla when drafted threw a fastball that edged into the low 90s, but his secondary stuff was fringy and he lacked “pitchability.”  As a pro, his velocity has been very erratic, anywhere from 87-93 when I’ve seen him pitch, mostly toward the lower end of that range.  His low-80s slider seems to have good movement, but his command of it is erratic.  He also throws a slower curve.

2008
A-:  0-1-0, 24.30 ERA, 5.10 WHIP, 3.1 IP, 27.0 BB/9, 13.5 K/9

Signed in late June and joined State College bullpen in late July.  The results in four abbreviated outings were about as bad as it can get.  The Pirates cut short the carnage after that and it turned out Colla was suffering from some sort of injury.

2009
A+:  6-3-0, 4.31 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 64.2 IP, 2.6 BB/9, 7.2 K/9

In training camp, the coaching staff seemed to be monitoring Colla carefully in exhibition games, so he probably was still recovering from the previous year’s injury.  He joined Lynchburg partway into April and was outstanding at first.  His ERA was 0.96 prior to All-Star break, but 6.87 afterward.  He allowed only 22 hits in 31.1 IP through end of June, but 48 hits in 33.1 IP after that.  His control was good but his K rate was just fair.

2010
A+:  0-5-1, 3.42 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 52.2 IP, 1.7 BB/9, 8.4 K/9
AA:  2-0-1, 3.10 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 29 IP, 2.5 BB/9, 7.1 K/9

Colla returned to high A and had a more consistent season, resulting in a late-season promotion to Altoona.  After a rough start there he pitched very well over his last ten appearances.

2011
AA:  5-11-0, 3.70 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 133.2 IP, 2.6 BB/9, 7.3 K/9

Colla was one of the bigger surprises in the system, as he moved to the rotation at the end of April and pitched very well there.  He was outstanding initially, posting an ERA of 1.75 in his first seven starts.  He had a rough stretch in June and July, with a 5.43 ERA that resulted mainly from gopher balls.  Hitters batted only .258 against him, but he allowed just under two HRs every nine innings.  A struggling Altoona lineup left him with an 0-7 W/L record in those months.  He got back on track in August and September, with a 2.78 ERA.  He had a big platoon split, allowing left-handed batters a .748 OPS and right-handed batters just .604, which probably shows that his slider was very effective.

2012
AA:  5-6-2, 3.75 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 96.0 IP, 2.5 BB/9, 7.0 K/9

Colla was eligible for the Rule 5 draft in the off-season but he wasn’t drafted.  He opened 2012 back in the Altoona rotation but didn’t pitch as well.  The Pirates moved him to the bullpen after seven starts and he stayed there except for three spot starts.  Overall he had a 1.38 WHIP and 4.72 ERA as a starter and a 1.18 WHIP and 2.79 ERA as a reliever.  He cut back some on his HR rate despite becoming even more of a flyball pitcher.  He did not have a platoon split.

Colla is similar to Brandon Cumpton:  a pitcher who was effective but not dominant as a starter and who may be better in relief.  He’s spent two years in AA and should get a shot at AAA, unless the Pirates simply don’t believe he has any potential to pitch in the majors.  He’ll be Rule 5 eligible again and is unlikely to be drafted.

STATS
Baseball Reference–Minors
Fangraphs
MiLB.com

NCAA
W-L-Sv
G
GS
IP
H
HR
BB
K
BB/9
K/9
WHIP
OAVG
ERA
2008
0-1-0
20
3
40.0
66
3
23
35
5.2
7.9
2.23
.373
8.33
2009
3-3-0
16
7
55.1
66
7
24
45
3.9
7.3
1.63
.293
5.20
2010
4-2-0
9
7
56.1
68
7
27
51
4.9
8.0
1.74
.291
4.79
CONTRACT INFORMATION
2013: Minor League Contract
PLAYER INFORMATION
Signing Bonus: N/A
MiLB Debut: 2008
MLB Debut: N/A
MiLB FA Eligible: 2014
MLB FA Eligible: N/A
Rule 5 Eligible: 2011
Added to 40-Man: N/A
Options Remaining: 3
MLB Service Time: 0.000
TRANSACTIONS
June 8, 2005: Drafted by the Houston Astros in the 38th round, 1154th overall pick.
June 6, 2008: Drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 14th round, 414th overall pick; signed on June 28.