Colvin Aims to Tackle Strikeouts

Tyler Colvin doesn't think he will ever lead any league in walks, but that doesn't stop the Cubs' 2006 first-round draft pick from working to improve his plate discipline.

Cutting back on strikeouts is on Colvin's "to-do list" in 2008, and he will begin the year at Class AA Tennessee, where he closed last season.

"I'm excited," Colvin said of beginning the year in Double-A. "I'll get to play with a bunch of guys that I know, and to be there and be somewhere I'm comfortable starting off is going to be great. Hopefully, I'll get off to a good start."

A good start would be nothing new for Colvin.

A year ago, the Cubs skipped the outfielder a level after he began his pro career in the short-season Class Low-A Northwest League the previous season.

The Clemson alum responded by batting .329 with 10 extra-base hits in his first 21 games at Class High-A Daytona and would close his tenure in the Florida State League with a .306 average, seven home runs and 24 doubles in 63 games. That earned him a promotion to Double-A, where he batted .291 in 62 games.

But Colvin also struck out 101 times in just under 500 at-bats last year, and the 22-year-old would like to improve on those totals this season.

"Obviously, I'd like to get a little more patient at the plate," Colvin said. "I go up to the plate with the confidence that nobody can get me out; I more or less can get myself out. If I swing at bad pitches, that's when I get in trouble."

While Colvin is a coachable player that recognizes there is room to improve his view of the strike zone, when it comes to the way he views strikeouts, there's also this: At the end of the day, he would rather be aggressive than passive.

"That's when I'm at my best," he says.

And it appears the Cubs share the same opinion.

"It's hard what Moneyball did," said Cubs Vice President of Player Personnel Oneri Fleita, referencing the controversial book by author Michael Lewis that raised questions regarding how major league clubs draft and evaluate talent.

"You want guys to be patient, yet aggressive. You tell me how the hell somebody does that," Fleita said.

Neither the Cubs nor Colvin are rightly sure.

All Chicago knows is that they're happy with the player Colvin is now.

"He's got the uncanny ability to hit when it counts in the clutch, and I don't see a stat out there that [measures] that," says Fleita. "Right now, all his stats in our book that count are hitting in the clutch and wanting to be the guy when it counts.

"He's very high on our list and there are good reasons for him to be a top prospect."

Among them is Colvin's ability to hit for power. His 16 home runs a year ago were a fair amount for a player partaking in his first taste of full-season minor league ball – especially one whom the Cubs never envisioned as a prototypical power hitter when they drafted him.

Moreover, Colvin thinks he has plenty more home runs in the tank.

"We'll see if I can top that number," Colvin said. "Right now, I'm not really worried about home runs at all. I started off slow with the home runs last year. It's really (all about) the ability to hit the ball hard to start off and I'm content with that."

He is also content with his current physique. Adding some muscle to his 6-foot-3, 195-pound frame would give Colvin a better chance to hit for more power, but he isn't concerned with that just yet.

"I'm going to let that come with age," said Colvin. "I'm 22, and I know I can put on a little weight. In camp, I came in right around 205 and ended up losing it all right at the end. Right now, playing centerfield, I don't need to be an extremely huge guy."

"I'm comfortable where I'm at," he said.

When it comes to Tyler Colvin, so apparently are the Cubs. Top Stories