Former first-round pick Tyler Colvin is having a great year with the Rockies and deserves more regular at-bats this season. Colvin was taken back in 2006 by the Chicago Cubs but traded last offseason with DJ LeMahieu for Ian Stewart and Casey Weathers.
For whatever reason, the Cubs felt David DeJesus would be a more productive option and dropped $10 million for two years of his services. What they did not realize was just how bad the Cubs would be, and how Colvin would benefit the squad and potentially carve out a full-time spot going forward.
Instead, he is doing that for the Rockies.
Colvin currently owns a .304 average with 10 home runs and a .333 OBP in 168 at-bats. Through 60 games, Colvin has forced the Rockies to consider moving outfielders to make room for him in the lineup. They are hesitant, as you can imagine with Carlos Gonzalez, Dexter Fowler and Michael Cuddyer all playing well.
However, with Troy Tulowitzki out indefinitely, and the team continuing to fall, they having nothing to lose from seeing if Colvin can continue to mature and develop.
Fowler remains on the table, but it would take an overwhelming offer to move him. And while Colvin's numbers look good, there are still some alarming factors that keep him from playing everyday.
Colvin has struck out 44 times to just eight walks, which is likely a result of limited action but could turn into a real problem if it does not improve.
One encouraging sign for Colvin is his capacity to adjust and make improvements. He has adjusted his stance over the years, and it is way more fluid with the driving action that will lead to 20+ home run seasons, especially in the Mile High City.
Colvin's first and only full season of his career, he registered 20 home runs and a 100-30 K-BB ratio. The following season, he struggled mightily between the Cubs and Triple-A Iowa, finishing with a combined .202 average through 409 at-bats.
So what does it say now that he is having such a good year?
Maybe teams have not faced him enough and the second or third time around they will having a more rounded scouting report. That has not been the case thus far.
Against the three teams he's played the most—Padres, Dodgers and Diamondbacks—he is 18-for-56 (.324) with three home runs and eight RBI. However, his K-BB rate is through the roof. He's struck out 20 times to 0, that's right, zero walks.
One theory is, because he has limited at-bats, he is being aggressive and coming up swinging. Would he be more patient if he was getting 100-120 at-bats per month as opposed to a mere 60?
In 21% of Colvin's at-bats, he is hitting for line drives, thus 49% are going for extra base hits. His BABIP is a balmy .357, but I would not be calling him lucky.
He is simply doing a great job lining the ball when he makes contact, even though he strikes out a ton. Last year he could not square the ball, and he has returned to the similar advanced statistics of 2010.
The thing is, Colvin could return to '10 form and hit around .260 with two dozen home runs with regular playing time. Yet, he looks so comfortable at the plate he may just be turning a corner. More at-bats would help him see more pitches, for better or worse.
He could easily find at-bats between the three outfielders and first baseman Todd Helton, but manager Jim Tracy has yet to implement that tactic.
If the Rockies are content with their outfield situation, they should look to play Colvin over Helton more frequently and hope he can continue to have the best season of his young career.
He is 26 years old, and the former Clemson prospect always had a boatload of potential. The adjustments he has made are deserving of another opportunity in the hopes he can emerge as a middle-of-the-order bat.