If you dig symbolism (and you know I do), Tyler Colvin is your kind of baseball player. His 2012 season is definitely symbolic of something…we just don’t know what yet.
Was it the quintessential “bounce back” season? If that is the case, then Colvin followed a predictable arc. As a hot young talent he made a splash early, blasting 20 home runs in 2010 at the spry age of 25. The next season was disaster, a sophomore slump of sorts. In 2011 Colvin divided his time between the minor leagues and the big show, ultimately finishing with a dreadfully awful .150 average and .509 OPS in his time up with the Chicago Cubs. If he is a “bounce back” guy after a successful 2012, then his stats should be pretty steady from here on. Maybe not as high as the .858 OPS of 2012, but nevertheless good and productive numbers. If that is the case, he is a symbol of hope for young phenoms who have to overcome speed bumps after initial success in their young careers.
Is Tyler Colvin a “one hit wonder?” Was 2012 the peak of what he has to offer, false hope for what will be an otherwise mediocre career? Throw in 2010 and we can call Colvin a “two hit wonder,” but the pressing question remains the same. What if 2012 was misleading? Believers in this theory need look no further than Colvin’s terrifying 117 strikeouts last season. What if he is destined to be a poor man’s Adam Dunn? If Colvin cannot spin his success last season into sustained production, he risks that designation. That is always the risk for teams with young players, that dark and dirty question that looms: what if it wasn’t for real? If Colvin ends up being a symbol of a “one hit wonder,” then he would join the ranks of the mercurial third baseman for whom he was traded, the one and only Ian Stewart (go check out Stewart’s stats from the first half of 2009 if you’re not with me).
Finally, is it possible that Colvin represents the “young stud who finally figured it out?” In this scenario, 2010 was a taste of Major League success but ultimately was not sustainable; 2012 was the season when it truly “clicked,” as the cliche goes. It wasn’t just the start of a productive or serviceable career. It was the start of something special, that moment where a young player finds success and the arrow for his career is still pointing straight up. If this is the case, then he is the symbol of hope for the Colorado Rockies in 2013. It is a stretch to believe that young players like Drew Pomeranz, Josh Rutledge, Chris Nelson, and Wilin Rosario can all take that big step in the same season. But if you want to convince yourself that it can happen, you might point to what Colvin did in 2012 as evidence that it’s a possibility.
While you hate to stake your franchise’s hope on instant improvement from young players, Colvin showed us that it is a possibility. The player he was in 2012 in no way resembled the train wreck he was in 2011. It can happen. For the Rockies to contend they need it to happen with like 5 players, so yea, it’s not likely. But it is possible.
Where should Colvin be in 2013? In the lineup plenty, splitting time with Michael Cuddyer in right field and at first base.
Where will Colvin be in 2013? In the lineup plenty, splitting time with Michael Cuddyer in right field and at first base.