The Cubs 2006 first round draft pick, Tyler Colvin worked out with the Cubs strength and conditioning coach Tim Buss all winter adding 25 pounds of muscle, and so far it is paying huge dividends. Colvin is hitting .565 and slugging .913 so far this spring. Carrie Muskat on the Official site of the Chicago Cubs recently interviewed Colvin and Lou Pinella.
When asked about Colvin's chances of making the opening day roster Pinella said "Why not?" . Colvin may even have a chance to play everyday, " Jim and I haven't sat down and talked about what the organization wants to do as far as everyday playing. We haven't broached that subject. [If he] keeps going the way he is, the subject will be broached sooner or later." Lou said.
Colvin has increased his bat speed, and power with the added muscle. He is less likely to wear down as the season progresses as well. If he continues to hit the way he has this spring, Soriano or Fukodome could be riding the pine this year.
The Cubs have searched long and hard for a solid left handed bat (Milton Bradley, Kosuke Fukodome, Micah Hoffpauir, Jeromy Burnitz) and maybe just maybe, they might have found one right underneath their noses. Tyler needs to prove himself in the big leagues, and if he does, I would like to see Soriano riding the pine.
The Cubs would have an awesome outfield defense with Fukodome in right field, Byrd in center, and Colvin in left. Fukodome's defense and on base percentage make him more valuable than the aging, undisciplined hitter, and defensively challenged player, that Alfonso Soriano is. Soriano hits fastballs well, but his inability to hit the off speed pitches hurt him a lot last year, and opposing pitchers will keep giving him a steady diet of them until he proves otherwise.
Just a couple other observations this spring, prospects Brett Jackson, Josh Vitters and Starlin Castro have all looked impressive this spring as well, but don't expect any of them to break camp with the Cubs. Jackson looks like a very legitimate prospect, he is extremely fast ( watching him go from first to home I blinked and almost missed it), makes good contact, and has some pop in his bat too. So far this spring Castro has lived up to the hype, and Vitters has looked impressive as well with a bat in his hands.