Technically, the deal that sent Kosuke Fukudome to the Cleveland Indians for a pair of minor leaguers was consummated three days before the actual trade deadline, but close enough. While AL-only league owners are still debating whether or not Fukudome and his .364 OBP are worth a claim, the better potential fantasy value remains in Chicago as Tyler Colvin gets another shot this season to prove his worth. After a stellar rookie campaign in 2010, Colvin struggled mightily this year, but with a less crowded outfield and another chance to stake his claim on the Cubs’ right field job, Colvin has a prime opportunity to put his early season woes behind him and make himself indispensable to fantasy owners for these final two months.
Right off the bat though, expectations should be tempered. The Tyler Colvin you’ll see over the next two months will probably be a little more muted than the one we all enjoyed last season. That .246 ISO was outstanding, but it’s definitely not an accurate representation of what Colvin will/should do in the future. Figure something closer to a .180 mark than anything else is probably where your expectations should lie.
After floundering at the plate this season and finding himself demoted not once, but twice, Colvin went to work with Von Joshua, the Iowa Cubs hitting coach. While most point to Colvin’s freak injury late last season in which he had his chest pierced by a bat shard and had his lung punctured as the source of his extended slump, Joshua saw a mechanical issue as the primary culprit. So, during Colvin’s second stint in Triple-A, Joshua tweaked his swing by having him drop his back elbow and lose the high leg kick in an effort to get him to drive the ball rather than trying to hit home runs.
The results had been somewhat mixed. Colvin was still striking out a little too much and only hit .261 through 153 at bats, but he did manage to string together a few decent hitting streaks and was starting to post more multi-hit games. As he continues to make adjustments with his recent promotion, you should probably expect a few struggles initially, especially if Cubs manager Mike Quade spells him with Reed Johnson in the beginning. But once his playing time steadies and he gets more comfortable with his new mechanics, you could be looking at more of a .270 hitter with solid gap power and the ability to push a half dozen balls over the fence.
Colvin did have himself a tremendous game on Tuesday, going 3-for-5 with a HR and just a triple short of the cycle, so perhaps this is the start of something more for him. He’s owned in 5% of Yahoo leagues and just 1.6% in ESPN, so if you’re in a deep league and looking for some outfield help, Colvin might just be worth your attention.