In terms of things that are obvious, Mike Quade is going to want to give his best players as many at-bats as possible this season. That being said, every other outfielder being considered for a starting role on the 2011 team besides Colvin is on the wrong side of 30. So even if Tyler isn't given a starting spot on day one, he'll be called upon plenty often to fill in for the older dudes.
Spring Training 2011 Mega Preview: Tyler Colvin
But before we relegate him to the bench, it's worth asking: is Tyler Colvin one of the three best outfielders the Cubs have on their roster?
Colvin had an up-and-down year in 2010. Consider the following splits, compared to his full-season numbers (my apologies for the awkward spacing, hope it's a bit easier to read):
That's two great months, one awful one, and three others that basically line up with his full-year performance. Maybe you fell in love with the April-May version of Colvin; maybe you broke it off with him at the end of August. In either case I recommend giving him another chance this year, and expecting something pretty similar to last year.
So then based on Colvin's 2010 season, can we say he's any better or worse than any other Cub outfielders? Well, I could decide for you, but why not take a look at the slash lines of all four guys yourself? Ranked by OPS:
To me, it looks like Colvin might just be a left-handed version of the Fonz. So hey, there's one idea: sub Tyler in for Soriano on days the team faces a tough right-hander! Perhaps we'll see more of Colvin in left field this year.
But is he markedly better than any of the Cubs three other potential starting outfielders? At this point I would say no. Expect Colvin to at least start the year as the team's fourth outfield option, and to post another high-power, low-average year in 2011.