Tyler Colvin on Instructs, USA Baseball

Tyler Colvin, one of the top outfield prospects in all of minor league baseball, will be doing a lot of traveling this off-season. Right now, he's just trying to get his feet back under him.

There is no real "off-season" for most top prospects, of course.

Having spent his first full season of pro ball in the Cubs' farm system between Class High-A Daytona and Class AA Tennessee, Colvin took only a couple of weeks off after finishing up his season in Double-A before boarding a plane for Arizona to join in on the fun at the Cubs' annual Instructional League in Mesa.

As if playing in 125 games this past season wasn't enough, Colvin graciously accepted a bid to compete for Team USA Baseball in the 2007 IBAF World Cup in Taiwan, which is scheduled for November 6-18.

The Cubs' first-round (13th overall) pick from Clemson in the 2006 First-Year Player Draft batted .299 with 16 home runs, 35 doubles and 81 RBIs this past minor league season. He was a unanimous Florida State League All-Star with Daytona.

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What has the work been like in Instructs so far?

Tyler Colvin: Right now, I'm shagging (fly balls) and taking batting practice and stuff. They just want me to get ready for Team USA right now. Next week, I'll start getting into games and they'll start DH'ing me and stuff, so I'll start working on my approach then and getting my at-bats. I haven't gotten into many games right now. I've been trying to get my legs back underneath me and am just swinging the bat a little in batting practice, and working on my running game right now.

How long have you been in Instructs, and when do you plan to leave for Team USA?

Tyler Colvin: I've been in Arizona for about a week now (Friday). We plan on leaving for Taiwan I guess on November 3. We'll be playing all of the (Instructional) League teams (first) and then we'll leave from there.

How were you initially introduced to Team USA?

Tyler Colvin: (Smokies manager) Pat (Listach) spoke to me about it in Tennessee and I guess that was a couple of weeks before (USA Baseball Executive Director/CEO) Paul Seiler called me about it. So Pat gave me a little heads up about it, but I didn't really know about it for sure until Paul Seiler called me.

How much time does all of this leave you to work with some of your coaches and instructors down in Arizona before you leave for Taiwan?

Tyler Colvin: I think it's plenty of time. We're going to get some games in against some of the Fall League teams and like I said, I'm doing my running program and my throwing program now just to try and get myself back into game shape right now.

How much did you find you needed to get back in game shape after being off for a couple of weeks once the Double-A season ended?

Tyler Colvin: Well, the swing is still there. You're not going to lose your swing. It's just the arm and getting that back into shape. The main thing is just getting your legs back under you.

How is your arm feeling right now?

Tyler Colvin: It's a little tired, but that's something I'm going to have to deal with. It's going to be a long season every year.

What will you be looking to work on with regards to your swing once you start playing in some actual games?

Tyler Colvin: When they get me into some games, I'll get some at-bats and try to work the count and make sure I try to take my walks every now and then, and cut down on my strikeouts.

That was the big thing you told us you were looking to do when we talked to you back in June at Daytona. Do you feel you did a better job of that, cutting down on your strikeouts, as the season wore on?

Tyler Colvin: I think I did. I think the second half in Daytona, I did a little better and in Tennessee I thought I did a pretty good job of it. The strikeouts are still there, but I thought I got into some good counts, and I want to say I had a good approach in the second half. I felt like I was seeing more pitches.

Some of the scouts and even Dave Keller, the Cubs' Minor League Hitting Coordinator, have compared you to a Steve Finley or Shawn Green type of player. Are those comparisons something you welcome or try to downplay by just being your own type of player?

Tyler Colvin: Everyone is always going to try and compare you to somebody. But you'd like to be your own player and try to work on being the best you can. I can only focus on myself.

You were at Chase Field for Game 1 of the Division Series last Wednesday night. From a spectator's standpoint, what did it feel like watching some of the guys you saw in Spring Training participate in a postseason series?

Tyler Colvin: It was great. There was a great crowd and a lot of Cubs fans in Arizona. It was a good experience to be in the stands. It's a lot better to go out there and do a job and get in, but it was good to be there and see all of the guys. It was a good experience.

Does it inspire you any more than what you already are? Do you even need inspiring?

Tyler Colvin: Oh, yeah, of course. That's something you dream of: being in the playoffs in the major leagues.

Being that you were invited to Big League Spring Training this year, and having worked with some of the guys and with Lou Piniella, etc., what was one thing, if you had to name just one thing, that you took from that experience?

Tyler Colvin: That it's still baseball. You're still throwing it over the plate. Everything is still baseball. That's about it.


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