Team Italy's Chris Colabello prepares for 2018 Brewers via Mexican Winter League

Returning to Estadio de Béisbol Charros de Jalisco, where he homered off Mexico starter Yovani Gallardo and later doubled off closer Roberto Osuna to power Team Italy to a miraculous 10-9 victory in the opening game of the 2017 World Baseball Classic, Milwaukee Brewers slugger Chris Colabello now plays for Charros de Jalisco in the Mexican Winter League.

After signing a minor-league contract in mid-July with the Milwaukee Brewers, the Italian American first baseman enjoyed much success with Triple-A affliliate Colorado Springs Sky Sox and led the team to its first postseason appearance in 20 years. Chris Colabello did not disappoint at the plate when it mattered most in the clutch as the cleanup hitter registered an impressive .429 batting average and .500 on-base percentage in the Pacific Coast League playoffs. During his last month of play for the Colorado Springs Sky Sox, Chris Colabello went 35-for-104 (.337 BA) with five doubles, one triple, two homers and 19 RBI. Opposing teams pitched around the tried-and-tested MLB player and issued 19 walks to limit the damage from the hot-hitting Chris Colabello.

In search of his 2014 Blue Jays glory days when he hit .321 with 15 HR and 54 RBI in 101 games to help Toronto win the 2014 AL East title for the first time in over two decades, Chris Colabello now ventures down to Guadalajara to get his groove back in the Mexican Winter League with Charros de Jalisco. He hopes to carry the momentum of a successful campaign south of the border into 2018 Brewers Spring Training camp in Maryvale (Phoenix), Arizona with sights of securing a Milwaukee Opening Day roster spot.Chris Colabello celebra il suo fuoricampo contro il Canada al Classic 2013 (Ratti FIBS)

Chris Colabello is no newcomer to the Mexican Winter League as he played for the 2012-13 Algodoneros de Guasave immediately following his first MLB professional career stint with Minnesota Twins Double-A affiliate New Britain Rock Cats. After leading the 2012 Connecticut-based minor-league franchise team in hits (141), doubles (37), home runs (19) and RBI (98), Chris Colabello parlayed his good fortune in New England to become the leader of his Mexican squad in homers (17), total bases (131), batting average (.332), slugging percentage (.664) and on-base plus slugging percentages (1.043). The strategy of working year-round in an international setting proved to be a sound move for the proud Italian American since soon after he made his MLB debut for the Minnesota Twins on May 22, 2013.

Should the formula for success in the Big Leagues via the Mexican Winter League repeat itself for Chris Colabello in 2018, the former Twin, Blue Jay and Indian will be rubbing shoulders with new Milwaukee Brewers teammates Eric Thames, Travis Shaw, Jimmy Nelson, Chase Anderson and 2017 MLB All-Star Corey Knebel. The future looks bright for the Azzurri slugger, and the best has yet to come from Chris Colabello. Forza #Italia!

by Roberto Angotti