by Kyle Johansen
As Jayson Werth signing in Washington has undoubtedly decreased his value, Tyler Colvin looks to get a boost as the Cubs are now “aggressively shopping” Kosuke Fukudome, who possibly prevents Colvin from every day at bats in 2011. Colvin had an impressive rookie season at age 24, similar to Werth’s first regular action as a 25-year-old in 2004. First, a look at Colvin’s 2010 season:
.254 BA (.296 BABIP)
6 SB (1 CS)
The first stats that jump out are the 20 homers and .500 SLG (incredible .246 ISO). It’s also worth noting that he was able to score 60 runs in just over half a season’s worth of at bats.
Compare this season to Werth’s 2004: .262/.338/.486 (.316 BABIP) with 16 homers and 4 steals. Werth similarly featured an impressive ISO that year of .224.
Further similarities lie in the rate at which both players strike out. Werth, for his career, strikes out in 28.9% of his at bats. Colvin’s strikeout rate was 27.9% in 2010.
The difference between the two is Werth’s strikezone judgement. Werth has a career walk rate of 12.3% and was walking at a 12.2% clip as soon as 2005. Colvin had an unimpressive 7.6% walk rate in 2010 and this was actually an encouraging sign as it was an improvement over his minor league numbers. If Colvin can continue to improve in this area, his batting average potential will be just as high as Werth’s, but for now the low walk rate combined with the high strikeout rate is the biggest red flag for Colvin.
Another potential red flag is that the season following Werth’s breakout 2004, he seriously regressed hitting only 7 home runs in 395 at bats during 2005. While this has nothing to do with Colvin’s path, it just shows that regression for young players is a possibility.
However, because Colvin appears to be more advanced for his age than Werth was, I believe his upside is Werth’s first look at regular playing time in 2008 when he went .273/.363/.498 with 24 home runs and 20 stolen bases. Colvin has stolen as many as 17 bases in a minor league season and his success rate last year shows that he knows what he’s doing on the base paths.
As long as Kosuke Fukudome is a member of the Cubs, projecting Colvin is an impossibility and his value takes a serious hit. However, if the Cubs are successful in moving Fukudome, Colvin will see every day at bats and could be a cheap source of power to go with some speed.
What are your thoughts of Colvin? Is he worth owning in all formats? Why or why not?
Make sure to check out some of our 2011 projections: