Colvin Finishing Season on Strong Note

SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. – Tyler Colvin has spent the 2009 season just trying to be consistent at the plate while recovering from Tommy John Surgery. In the process, Colvin almost set a Southern League record for consistency.

Colvin recorded a hit in 11 consecutive at-bats beginning in late July, a streak that tied the Southern League record.

"I didn't know anything about the record. Somebody else asked me if I wanted to know what the record was and I told them I didn't really want to know," Colvin said. "They told me afterwards. I hit two balls hard right after that. That's the way it goes. You get lucky and find holes sometimes, and sometimes you don't.

"I was just kind of enjoying the ride. It was fun to get lucky a few times and still hit some balls good. It just felt good having a good approach and being that consistent."

From the press box down to the coaches box, most everyone was enjoying seeing Colvin's streak continue and were wondering when it would ever end.

"That was fun to watch. I just enjoyed that, I enjoyed watching it," Smokies hitting coach Tom Beyers said.

The streak, which Colvin attributes to his mentality, not only did wonders for his confidence but also his batting average.

"It raised my confidence a lot and it raised my average close to 50 points. It was good. To be consistent like that, I know I can stay consistent and as long as I keep putting good at-bats together, good things will happen," Colvin said.

Colvin's batting average has risen to .288 (his on-base percentage is .321) and the 11 for 11 streak was something that even Colvin himself couldn't have imagined.

"I know in college I had a good little streak against Wake Forest at one time. I think I was like 13 for 16 for a series, but (never) 11 for 11," Colvin says.

The record-tying performance earned Colvin the Southern League's "Hitter of the Week" award for the week of July 27 – August 2.

The season as a whole has been a positive one for the former first-round draft pick, especially considering he is coming off of debilitating elbow surgery.

Colvin also suffered from a vicious collision in the outfield at the beginning of the season at Class-A Daytona.

"This whole year has been a positive for him," Beyers said of Colvin. "He had Tommy John Surgery during the winter and he didn't really get to do much in spring training. He got off to a late start in Daytona and the fact that he's healthy and feeling strong has been a huge positive for him.

"With the nine home runs in about half a season (at Double-A), he'd be on pace to hit about 15 or 20 home runs so it's been a positive year for him."

The home run total is surprising for a player who hasn't had much time to regain the strength in his arm. Colvin told InsideTheIvy.com in early July that his strength wasn't quite where it should be, and since then not much has changed.

"It's getting late in the season and everybody is starting to wear down, but my body is fine where it is right now. I have the offseason to get stronger," Colvin said. "My bat speed could still improve. I can worry about getting stronger and more bat speed in the offseason, but right now I just have to get through the season."

The good news for Cub fans is that Colvin is putting up solid power numbers despite not being at full strength. He has done so by learning one important lesson:

"Staying within myself and trying not to do too much," Colvin said.

That should leave fans with something to look forward to when the 2010 season rolls around, perhaps at Triple-A Iowa or even Chicago at some point.

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