Tyler Colvin came to the Rockies in a trade for Ian Stewart on December 8, 2011, as both the Cubs and Rockies were trying to pull off a change of scenery trade between two troubled former first round picks. Even before the 2013 break out of DJ LeMahieu, who was acquired as a throw-in within that deal, the trade was a clear win for Colorado.
In 2012, the highest WAR produced by a Colorado Rockie with more than 100 innings played in the infield was Tyler Colvin. In fact, Colvin recorded a higher rWAR than Carlos Gonzalez, in fewer plate appearances. The year was a coming out party for Colvin, who recorded 18 home runs and 72 RBI while being an asset with versatility, ably covering all three outfield positions as well as first base. Coming into 2013, the argument was not whether Colvin deserved a roster spot, but whether he should be starting in front of franchise icon Todd Helton or expensive free agent signee Michael Cuddyer.
Instead, 2013 was a disaster for Colvin. The Rockies saw something they did not like in Spring Training, where the lefty managed just eight hits in 48 at-bats while leading the club in strikeouts. Surprisingly, the Rockies elected to leave Colvin off the Opening Day roster in favor of three weak-hitting infielders - Reid Brignac, Jonathan Herrera and Jordan Pacheco.
Eric Young Jr. struggled mightily with the big club, and after he was designated for assignment in early June, Colvin had his chance to prove the Rockies wrong. After coming off the bench his first two games, he got his first start of the year against Dan Haren and the Nationals at Coors Field.
It was fortuitous timing, as the last time Dan Haren visited Coors Field, Colvin registered two home runs on the day while Haren served up four all by himself. That script repeated itself on June 11. ROOT Sports' Jenny Cavnar interviewed Colvin after the game, leading by pointing out his 2012 success, his AAA assignment and his performance against the Nationals. Cavnar asked Colvin what was different about him over that time. Very pointedly, Colvin responded that nothing was different, that the only variable that changed was where he was playing.
That pointed barb at the front office carried with it the pressure to back up the charge. For a brief period, it appeared Colvin was up to the task. After an ofer the following day, Colvin went 4-for-12 with a home run in his next three games, finishing his first seven games back with the Rockies with a .308/.333/.696 line with three home runs. It ...was... all down hill from there.
Starting with a three strikeout game in Toronto against Josh Johnson, Colvin managed just 5 hits 55 at-bats with 22 strikeouts. He was as lost at the plate as an American League pitcher. The Rockies optioned him back to AAA on July 10, and Colvin's month with the Rockies was over. His overall batting line was good for an unsightly wRC+ of 6, better only than Casper Wells, John McDonald and Luis Cruz among MLB position players with at least 70 plate appearances.
We do not know what the Rockies saw in spring training to give them alarm, but it appears they had the correct evaluation. Colvin struggled mightily against MLB pitching, making contact on just 79% of the pitches in the strike zone he swung at. His long swing was broken. If he fixes it, it will not be in Colorado.
Grade With Rockies: F
|2013 - Tyler Colvin||27||75||8||12||0||0||3||10||3||27||0||0||.160||.192||.280|
|Tyler Colvin - 2013 WAR||Bat (R)
Tyler Colvin has earned just south of $3.6million in his major league career. He earned $2.275mil of that in 2013, predominantly as a minor league player. He was outrighted from the roster at the start of September and elected minor league free agency last week. He will try to latch on with another team as a minor league free agent and non-roster invitee in spring training.