Whither Tyler Colvin?

Tyler Colvin hasn’t played much this season. And, when he has, he’s struggled. He’s already been replaced by Reed Johnson as the fourth outfielder. So, as a young-ish guy, the question is, why is he still on the big league roster?

Well, the Cubs are finally giving serious consideration to sending Tyler Colvin down to AAA Iowa where he can get regular at bats.

“We need to get [Colvin] involved some way, somehow, and that’s been on my mind the last few days,” Mike Quade said yesterday.”We’ll see how this homestand plays out and take a look at [sending Colvin down].”

After a promising rookie campaign (though his game did still have some holes), Colvin has been absolutely brutal this year. He’s hit just .113/.191/.258 in 62 at bats, and has never put together a decent stretch of baseball. Much of the blame for his struggles goes to Colvin, there’s no doubt. It’s up to him to adjust to the adjustments he’s seeing from opposing pitchers – and, for the love of God, he’s got to learn to lay off the junk three feet out of the zone.

But it hasn’t been entirely his fault. Among the foibles thrust upon him this year: he was set up to play in a platoon with another left-handed hitter, he almost never receives a regular start, he bats with the pitcher behind him when he does start, and he frequently pinch-hits against lefties.

You want some evidence that a lack of regular time has been a major culprit? The first time facing a pitcher in a game, Colvin’s OPS is an embarrassing .188. If he stays in the game long enough to face the pitcher a second and third time, however, his OPS in those at bats is closer to .750.

That tells me that, if given regular starts, Colvin would have a very good chance of getting his shit together. I’m not saying he should be handed the right field job on the big club, but, if the Cubs have any illusions that he can be a future starter, they need to allow him to play every day. If that means he plays in Iowa, then so be it. The team is doing neither itself nor Colvin any favors by watching him flounder on the bench.

And, surely, his confidence is further eroded every time he’s sent up there to strike out as a pinch hitter with a runner on third.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

17 responses to “Whither Tyler Colvin?”

  1. Lance

    You are really good at sports writing. I guess I have never really paid attention to your style, but it’s damn good. You are doing the right thing by making this your full time gig.

  2. pfk

    Amen. The kid needs to play and best to send him down for now. Also, we need to know if he is going to be in the plans for 2012 or not. If he doesn’t get it together when sent down, that will figure into 2012.

  3. Jerry McClellan

    Every time Colvin goes up there he is almost immediately down two strikes. He wants to work the count and pitchers know it. That is why they throw pitches right down the middle and he lets them go or fouls them off. The pitchers then throw some breaking stuff and he can’t lay off. Colvin needs to get more playing time whether it’s up here or at Iowa and use the philosophy of see the ball and hit the ball. It’s too bad this is happening to because he was one of the few bright spots last year.

  4. Michigan Goat

    I’ve never been sold on Colvin, he’s not a top grade defender, he doesn’t have top speed, and he hasn’t shown RF type power. I think cub nation is big on him because he looked better than Sori or Fuk last year: young, promising, and cheap. But with Fuk hitting and Sori rediscovering his power he just doesn’t fit right now. He obviously struggles as a pinch-hitter and Reed has made the most out of his opportunities. So send him down see if he lights up AAA but I think it’s time to quit hoping he is a 2012 answer. I always think great players make themselves keepers when they get their chance.

    1. Jeff

      20 homeruns last year in 135 games with less than 400 at bats last season tells me he definitely has RF type power. I think Cub nation is big on him because he is young, not lazy, not overpaid, and shuts up and goes to work. He has absolutely not gotten a fair shot this year, or at the end of last year. Quade keeps saying he needs to find at bats and consistent playing time for Colvin, but has failed to do it over and over. What the heck are the Cubs doing right now that is so great that they can’t get one of their top young players some consistent at bats? This is pure garbage and every Cubs fan that has followed the team closely since last year knows it.

      1. Michigan Goat

        I agree 20 HR does show promise, but his drop during the second half of the season, his drop when runners are on, and especially his line with RISP worries me and doesn’t instill confidence. I am with you for the reason to like him, but I’ve been disappointed with too many “promising” players who show us these same qualities. I just think the right thing to do is get him consistent starts in AAA and hopefully he can work on his situational hitting and hopefully we trade a few players he can return and prove he deserves to start.

        And yes how Jimbo and Q have handled getting him quality consistant starts is pathetic, he should be starting at 1B, RF, LF in a regularity, but Baker and ReJo have also shown why they should play… and for some reason Q would rather start players whose ceiling we know vs see what potential we have.

  5. awesome

    he is fast, and more then once I’ve read that he is the fastest Cub, which surprised me. no he’s not really a top notch guy on D, 1B or OF. he does have power, but which pitch is it he can’t hit? it’s a shame they just let him rot on the bench.

    Fuku is what he is, 4th OF’er, Soriano is who he is, brutal defender, lazy as hell with diminishing on and off power. he should pay the Cubs to let him on the field.

  6. Blinda

    I agree but the question I ask now is who comes up? I would say Brett Jackson but the same thing would just happen to him. Maybe Fernando Perez?

  7. Caleb

    I’m not sure what Q should do right now. Maybe get Colvin a few shots in a better part of the lineup in this road trip, see how he does. Unless he wows, he can go down to AAA until the Fuk drops off. Then he and Johnson can platoon.

    And I heard a compelling argument that the Cubs could look at Carlos Beltran.

    Crazy? Maybe.

    Next year could look VERY different.

    Outfield: Colvin, Byrd, Beltran.
    IF left to right: Ramirez, Castro, Barney, Fielder,
    And maybe 1 new ace.

    1. Michigan Goat

      The only way ARam should be with us next year is if he gives us a Kerry Wood like discount… but I just don’t expect that. I do agree Fielder will be with us the question is how much for how long.

  8. pfk

    I wouldn’t keep ARam even with a discount. At least Wood had spirit, toughness, work ethic and is good. ARam is lethargic, has no work ethic, no spirit and his “what-me-work?” approach is bad for the team and even worse on fans that pay big bucks to see a ballgame with players who actually care. We wonder why attendance is down? Who wants to pay big money to watch Soriano and Ramirez jake it? Seeing it on TV is one thing, paying to see it with your son is another.