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Tyler Colvin Becoming Embedded On The Bench


For those that missed it, Luke’s latest piece asked the question “is Brett Jackson Ready?” Like Luke,  I don’t think Brett Jackson will be patrolling the outfield of Wrigley Field anytime soon. But his arrival to the major league club this season has to be considered inevitable. But with the question of when will Jackson be with the Chicago Cubs, comes another question that goes hand in hand with Jackson’s arrival. Where has Tyler Colvin been hiding?

Colvin has appeared in 23 of the Cubs 30 games this season. But of those 23 games, Colvin has only started in 12 of them. Suggesting that the lack of playing time could be why Colvin has gotten off to a dreadful start to the season. Through 53 at bats, Colvin is hitting .132/.220/.302 with 2 home runs and 7 RBIs. Couple Colvin’s slow start with Kosuke Fukudome’s hot start and you have found the reason why Colvin has not received nearly as much playing time as we all expected him to. But is Colvin’s slow start really attributed to the lack of playing time, or is Colvin just not the player the Cubs were expecting him to be?

Obviously one of the knock’s on Colvin coming out of last season was that he strikes out too much and hardly walks. But so far in 2011, Colvin has improved in both of those areas. Through 23 games, Colvin has BB% of 10.2 and a K% of 24.5. Both of those percentages are improved from last season. In 2010 Colvin had a BB% of 7.6 and a K% of 27.9.

With the improvements to his BB% and K% the next area to look is what happens when he swings the bat. Immediately the stat that stands out to me is Colvin’s line-drive percentage and fly ball percentage. So far this season Colvin has a line-drive percentage of 10% which is considerably down from 2010 in where his percentage was 17%. To go along with the decrease in his line-drive percentage, Colvin has a substantial increase in his fly ball percentage. Colvin has a fly ball percentage of 50% this season as opposed to last season when he had a percentage of 39.85. This is usually not a good sign for a hitter. Because what this entails is that Colvin is trying to hit home runs instead of solid hits overall. Not to mention that Colvin’s batting average of balls in play is .132.

Colvin’s contact percentages are improved all across the board. He is swinging at less balls out of the strike zone (34.4%), and more at balls in the strike zone (74.8). However, Colvin is making more contact with balls thrown out of the zone (63.6%) than he was last season (54.3%). But, he also is making more contact with balls thrown in the zone (89.5) than he was last season (85%). His overall contact percentage (80.8%) is also improved from last season (71.9%).

To simply put it, Colvin is looking like a free swinger who is always going for the home run ball. Granted he is making more contact with balls thrown in the strike zone and his K% and BB% are down, the fact remains that his contact percentage of balls thrown out of zone has increased. It does not have to be stated that making contact with bad pitches likely will not improve the overall production from a batter.

While the lack of playing time has effected Colvin’s production, there clearly are other reasons to be concerned with when it comes to Tyler Colvin.