I was wrong a year ago: I thought the Cubs made a mistake by keeping Tyler Colvin based on his strong spring. Given his lack of plate discipline, I figured he’d be back in the minors by May 1 and I had serious doubts that he’d ever make much of a contribution to the cause.
Colvin, though, made quite an impact as a rookie, collecting 20 homers and driving in 56 runs in 358 at-bats. He did strike out 100 times, but he worked 30 walks. He ended up with more homers, more walks and a higher OPS than he had in 459 at-bats between high-A and Double-A in 2009.
However, Colvin’s success didn’t cause the Cubs to make him a regular as a sophomore. He probably would have been penciled into right field if the team could have found a taker for Kosuke Fukudome’s contract, but that didn’t materialize, and the Cubs decided to sign Carlos Pena rather than turn Colvin into a first baseman.
As a result, the Cubs kept him as a fourth outfielder, figuring he’d get plenty of time in the corners if Alfonso Soriano and Fukudome continued to fail to live up to their contracts.
They probably didn’t anticipate Soriano leading the league in homers or Fukudome maintaining a .456 on-base percentage six weeks into the season. Colvin made 12 starts in April, most of them at Fukudome’s expense, but with his average south of .150, he’s hardly played at all since. He’s made just one start in May, going 0-for-4 with two strikeouts against the Reds on Saturday.
The obvious move now is for the Cubs to demote Colvin, and it’s pretty surprising that they haven’t done so. Colvin is hitting just .115/.194/.262 with two homers in 61 at-bats. He hasn’t made an impact as a pinch-hitter, having gone 1-for-8. Since the Cubs have Jeff Baker and Reed Johnson to serve as backup outfielders, they’d be just fine there without him.
So, getting Colvin at least two or three weeks of regular at-bats in Triple-A looks like a no-brainer. It’s just odd that it hasn’t happened already.