What Tyler Colvin Can and Can't Do

The answer to this titular pondering is probably clear to most Cubs fans: Tyler Colvin can hit the ball hard, but he can't hit the ball consistently.

It was his power that made Colvin a pretty useful player in 2010 — 20 HR, .500 SLG — despite a .316 OBP. And it's what fans were looking for from him this season. And actually, it didn't take him long to hit his first homer of 2011; that happened on April 5 against Arizona.

But that home run was one of just seven hits Colvin would collect in April, leading to his .137 batting average on the month. And if you thought his 7-for-51 start to the season was bad, the next 51 at-bats probably made you throw up blood: he managed just four more hits in limited playing time through July 31, giving him an 11-for-102 total at the end of that month. Yyyyyyyyyyyuck.

Now it's August, and Kosuke Fukudome is gone, which has helped Tyler get more than zero at-bats (despite Mike Quade's obsession with slotting Reed Johnson's .400 BABIP into the line-up whenever possible). Unfortunately, Colvin's average still sucks — he's 8-for-39 (.205) this month. But the power is back: of his eight hits, six have gone for extra bases (2 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR).

Put it all together, add in Colvin's 2010 stats, and you get a career line of: .219/.280/.434. Ladies and gentlemen, this is probably a pretty good representation of Colvin's present and future hitting talent. It's also pretty close to what he managed in 212 Triple A plate appearances this year (.261/.275/.483).

Worth keeping around? Sure. But no team with a championship on its mind could even think to give that player 500 at-bats.

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  • Honestly, I believe you could buy Soriano out or release him, throw Colvin out there and get the same 25 HR, .300 OBP that you'd get with Sori with better defense, with at least the possibility of more. We know with Soriano it's only going backwards. Is that kind of production from left field enough? Probably not, but considering the budget constraints that are probably coming, and with Brett Jackson looking more and more likely to be your starting CF in 2012, it may be worth a shot.

  • I think that's clearly Colvin's role at this point: do what Soriano did once he's dumped.

  • Which really isn't all that ambitious, but probably best we can hope for at this point.

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