With his recent promotion to the Majors, there have been a lot of questions being asked about the Cubs’ outfield prospect Tyler Colvin. The Clemson University product was originally selected by Chicago in the first round of the 2006 draft. He was chosen 13th overall, even though some teams did not have him in the mix for a Top 100 selection.
The Cubs organization thought enough of his athleticism to bypass other players such as Travis Snider (Toronto), Kyle Drabek (Philadelphia), Hank Conger (LAA), and Daniel Bard (Boston). But the club did not have second, third, or fourth round picks and it obviously felt he would not be there in the fifth round, where the club selected Jeff Samardzija.
Colvin’s early minor league numbers were OK on the surface but he did not excel in any one area. He hit for a respectable average in 2007 while splitting the year between high-A and double-A but it became clear that his approach was not going to work in the upper levels of the minors and the Majors.
That year, Colvin walked just 3.9% of the time in high-A (245 at-bats) and 2.0% in double-A (247 at-bats). His average remained OK, in part due to strong BABIPs of .356 and .342. Colvin was then left in double-A in 2008 to work on his game plan at the plate. He batted an uninspired .256/.312/.424 in 540 at-bats. His walk rate rose to 7.5%.
The organization demoted the now-24-year-old outfielder to high-A to begin 2009 to not only continue working on his approach but also to continue his rehab from elbow surgery, as one reader pointed out. Colvin hit just .250 with an OPS of .683 in 32 games, but the walk rate hit double digits for the first time in his career at 10.4%. He was then promoted to double-A (His third shot) for the remainder of the minor league season. He hit .300/.334/.524 with a walk rate of 5.0% in 307 at-bats.
It’s pretty clear that Colvin is what he is: A fringe starting outfielder with average usable power who doesn’t get on-base enough, and who has limited interest in stealing bases despite having above-average abilities on the base paths. He might luck into a few seasons where he’ll produce a solid batting average, but it probably won’t be the norm.
The Cubs took a gamble on Colvin in the 2006 draft, but it looks like a swing-and-a-miss as a No. 1 pick. That said, he could still be a useful MLB player… and he’d be getting better press if he had gone to the Cubs in the third or fourth round.
Print This Post