Spring Training 2011 Mega Preview: Tyler Colvin

Check out the script on the header image there: "Should make the team." Well done, Kurt. I agree that Tyler Colvin should make the 2011 Chicago Cubs' major league team headed out of spring.
But should he start every day? What about every other day? Maybe all night games played between Monday morning and Friday at midnight?
Believe it or not, I have an opinion on the subject.

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.

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):
Apr/May:  .306/.366/.625
Jun/Jul:    .251/.309/.515
August:    .215/.271/.367
Sept:        .250/.333/.475
2010:        .254/.316/.500
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:
Soriano:      .258/.322/.496
Colvin:        .254/.316/.500
Fukudome: .263/.371/.439
Byrd:          .293/.346/.429
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.

Comments

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  • I wrote a similar piece on my blog with some statistical analysis projecting and comparing Colvin and Fukudome...came to the conclusion that Fukudome is the better choice for now.

  • Where's the link! I wanna read!

    As for Fuk vs Tyler, couple things:

    1) Fuk is pretty clearly better at getting on base, and the Cubs have more power hitters on the roster than they do on-base guys as of right now. Having said that,

    2) in his 100+ at-bats against lefties last year, Colvin was not completely worthless. Now that may be because the lefties he was allowed to face all sucked, or maybe Colvin's power plays better against same-handed pitchers than does Fuk's patience.

    I agree with you that Fuk should start against righties, but I wonder who's better against left-handed pitching. Maybe Reed Johnson?

  • In reply to ajwalsh08:

    Thanks!

    Here's the link...

    http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/cubs-den/

    By the way, I have enjoyed your blog for a long time now before I finally decided to comment...love the humor!

    http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/cubs-den/

  • In reply to walrus:

    Sorry for the double link...hit the reply key before I was finished! And I didn't link the specific article but it's the latest entry in my blog...

    Anyway, Reed would be a good choice if Fuk struggles with lefties again. Of course, he's in a battle with Fernando Perez for that 5th OF spot -- two of my favorite players this spring. I wish they could both make it somehow!

    Also wanted to mention that I liked the Soriano/Colvin comparison. Not something Cub fans like to hear, but it's pretty accurate.

  • In reply to walrus:

    Do I hear "cross-promotional synergies"?!?!!? I'll check it out for sure, thanks for linking.

    I'm having trouble getting excited about Perez; don't see how he's any different from Joey Gathright. But there does seem to be room for Reed on this team. It will be interesting to see who makes the final cut!

  • In reply to ajwalsh08:

    LOL...sure why not?

    I just like Perez because he's just a cool guy. Went to Columbia U., writes poetry...when a scout asked him what his top end potential was, he responded, "President of the United States."

    As a player...he's got some on-base skills and speed, two things that are lacking on this team. Of course, Johnson's a pretty cool guy with some skills we need too...so if wins it I won't be disappointed. 5th OF'er isn't all that important, but it's my favorite roster battle because of the guys involved.

  • In reply to walrus:

    Yeah, I've seen the Tumblr and the YouTube video, I admit, very cool dude. And you do appear to be onto something with the on-base stuff: it hasn't shown in his major league appearances, but he's definitely posted some strong on-base numbers at various levels of the minors on his way to the bigs.

    At the very least, you have to figure Perez has more upside than Reed. I have a feeling both guys will get a shot at helping out the big league club at some point during the year.

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