Friday, June 29, 2012

Tyler Colvin - A Coors mirage

The perception surrounding Tyler Colvin has been that the Cubs mishandled their 2006 first round draft pick and a change of scenery would probably do him good. But the perception is really not correct. Colvin has far too many flaws in his game and was given opportunities by the Cubs to prove he belonged in the big leagues and he did not produce. Perhaps the perceptions began with the abortive Lou Piniella days as the Cubs manager when Colvin could not get out of Piniella's doghouse. But, though Piniella was not a good manager for the Cubs, the doghouse was the right place for the young player. Then last night, Tyler Colvin got four hits against the Nationals pushing his average is over .300. Perhaps he has found himself. Nope. It is a Coors Field mirage.

The knocks on Helton's career are unfounded. The guy could flat out hit whether it be at Coors or anywhere else. But Coors has produced its share of mirages over the years. Colvin is another in a long line of such players. Oh sure, after last night, the overall numbers look good: .309/.338/.579. Excellent right? But if you dig deeper, you see that he has a 4.3 percent walk rate compared to a 24.5 strikeout rate. And ALL of his damage has been done at Coors Field. Let's look at the splits:

  • Home: .342 batting average, seven homers, five walks, four doubles, four triples and fourteen RBIs in 29 games.
  • Road:  .274 batting average, one homer, two walks, five doubles, no triples and six RBIs in 25 games. 

So, yeah, that is an impressive 1.140 OPS at home with a home wOBA of .462. But put Colvin on the road and his OPS becomes .673 with a wOBA of .294. That, friends, is quite a home/away split.

And Colvin really does not have a natural position for the Rockies. He is a first baseman by trade, but he does not provide the kind of consistency you need as a bopper at first. He is barely an adequate outfielder who has no business playing center as much as the Rockies are playing him there.

The reality is that Colvin is not much different despite the numbers this season than he was with the Cubs. He lacks plate discipline and swings and misses too many pitches. The only difference is that he has a home ballpark that is masking his deficiencies. It's funny. This piece was going to be about how Tyler Colvin has found himself now that he has left the Cubs. But the truth was too overwhelming. Colvin is just not going to live up to his Number One draft status unless he drastically changes his approach at the plate.

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