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About that Tyler Colvin for Ian Stewart Trade…

By bullpenbrian at 03.30.2013 2 comments.

Tyler Colvin

Tyler Colvin is starting the season in Colorado, but not with big league team.

In an unexpected move, the Rockies optioned the 27-year-old to their Triple-A affiliate in Colorado Springs. However, it’s not suspected Colvin will stay in the minors for long.

Although he’s blocked from a starting job by outfields Carlos Gonzalez, Dexter Fowler and Michael Cuddyer, Colvin’s versatility to play all three outfield position, and first base, should be enough to bring him back to the bigs on a bad team.

In the meantime, the Rockies think regular at-bats will help Colvin improve on the rough numbers he posted in the Cactus League this spring:
.167 (8-for-48), 14 K, 18 games.

Cubs fans seem to have difficulty letting go of the Colvin trade (Dec. 2011) because neither RHP Casey Weathers (Colorado’s 1st Rd pick in 2007) or Ian Stewart have panned out with Chicago.

But Colvin hasn’t reached the potential many saw with him in 2010: 20 HRs, 56 RBI in 135 games. His biggest obstacle, in Chicago and Denver, in establishing himself as a starter has been a continuous struggle with hitting for contact.

2010: 100 K, 25-perent of plate appearances.
2011: 58  K, 26-percent of plate appearances.
2012: 117 K, 26-percent of plate appearances.

Granted Colvin has shown plenty of pop at the plate (.858 OPS in 2012), he strikes out far too often, whiffing at a clip of once every 3.6 at-bats in his career.

That certainly had to be one reason why Jed Hoyer traded Colvin in the first place; he’s not a player who fits the organization’s grind-it-out plate mentality. But the other reason Hoyer made the move was to replace Aramis Ramirez at third base, and Stewart was expected to be the everyday starter, which obviously takes precedent over a swing-happy fourth outfielder.

If we have to choose a winner in the trade it’s Colorado because of the inclusion of DJ LeMahieu, who was packaged with Colvin, and served a bench role as a backup infielder with the Rockies last season. Weathers, on the other hand, went (4-2, 6.62) in 31 games with the Cubs Double-A affiliate in 2012.

Realistically, however, neither side benefited greatly from the trade, and the evaluation could change entirely if Stewart finally has the breakout season the Rockies always expected, and the Cubs have been waiting for.

Besides, the Cubs already have their own left-handed batting outfielder with good pop and a knack for striking out. And Brett Jackson may have a greater upside than Colvin does anyway.

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2 Comments

  1. J-Huff says:

    What makes this hard to evaluate is that Colvin benefits from hitting at Coors Field. Compare his home and away split stats and you’ll see my point.

    Coors Field = 1.032 OPS (207 at-bats)
    Away = .687 OPS (213 at-bats)

    • bullpenbrian says:

      Colvin’s splits are interesting, and very fitting of Coors Field.

      The difficulty with comparisons for me is Ian Stewart. He’s only played 103 total games the past two seasons (55 last year with Cubs), and most of that time he was battling a nagging wrist problem, which eventually led to surgery last summer with Chicago.

      This makes it hard to tell what kind of player Stewart is…or can be…having basically missed the past two years with injuries. The limited sample size for his production leaves us to wonder “did Stewart hit .201 last year because he’s not a good hitter, or was it simply the result of injury?”

      Unfortunately, just about any ballplayer’s numbers look good next to Stewart’s…even Ryan Theriot looks like a real slugger next to Ian’s 2011-12 seasons.

      If Colvin and Stewart would both have breakout seasons in 2013, maybe we could all settle on a draw in the deal :)

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