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Background: Despite not pitching after Aug. 1 because of a bone bruise in his elbow, Colon was so dominant at Kinston that he was named the Carolina League pitcher of the year and the league's top prospect. Hes a comet hurtling to the big leagues. He's gone 26-8, 2.52 while giving up an average of just 6.2 hits per nine innings in his three professional seasons. Indians officials say the elbow problem was cured through rest and rehab and Colon should be 100 percent at the start of spring training. Strengths: When opposing teams discuss trades with Hart, Colon's name is always one of the first mentioned. He's the premier pitcher in a pitching-rich system. He has three quality pitches, a fastball, curveball and changeup. The fastball is his best pitch, registering in the mid-90s, and the other two pitches have the potential to be above average. Colon has no problem throwing strikes, a rare ability for a young pitcher. He eventually should become an impact pitcher, either a No. 1 starter or a dominant closer, at the major league level. Weaknesses: Outside of his health--and the elbow appears to be fine--there are no question marks about Colon. He can improve the consistency of his breaking pitch. He doesn't have the height of a prototype power pitcher and he lacks experience, but neither shortcoming has held him back. The Future: Assuming the elbow problem doesn't flare up in training camp, Colon will likely skip a level and begin the season at Triple-A Buffalo. If not earlier, he should be able to join Cleveland's rotation in 1997.
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