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Tuesday Rockpile: Tyler Colvin Causing Problems with Lineup Construction

Hey, this Coors Field place is f-u-u-n!
Hey, this Coors Field place is f-u-u-n!

Carlos Gonzalez is having a season that makes him a worthy All-Star selection. In fact, his current .326/.388/.626 slash line is better than the .336/.376/.598 line that had him chasing the Triple Crown in 2010.

Dexter Fowler is having a breakout season, with a career high in home runs and an OPS that ranks only behind Josh Hamilton and Andrew McCutchen among MLB center fielders.

There's Tyler Colvin, who has six home runs in 116 plate appearances, hitting .300 along the way. Colvin was 6-for-9 with three home runs and a double in the Angels series and is absolutely pushing for playing time.

Gonzalez, Fowler and Colvin are all outfielders. They all deserve to start right now. But what about Michael Cuddyer? The outfielder is barely two months into a three-year deal that pays him more than any free agent position player in franchise history.

Cuddyer is saying all the right things, providing leadership and become a more stable, reliable bat in the lineup with Tulowitzki on the disabled list. His production has slowed from a scorching two week April stretch, but overall, he has hit better than his 2007, 2008, and 2010 seasons, a bit worse than his 2009 and 2011 seasons. In other words, he's been exactly who the Rockies thought they were signing, which is hardly deserving of being benched.

So the Rockies' four best hitters all play in the outfield, which makes putting the best lineup together a near impossibility. Colvin or Cuddyer could play first, but it's a little early to shove Todd Helton to the side even half the time. While Helton's numbers look poor, his peripherals suggest he isn't actually riding into the sunset yet. His ISO is his highest since 2007. His line drive rate is his highest since 2003. His strikeout rate is at career levels, way down from his poor 2010 season. With a little more luck, Helton would appear unmovable from the line-up as well.

What's the answer? Don't play Tyler Colvin on the road. He maintains large home/road splits, while the veterans Michael Cuddyer and Todd Helton have been better at mitigating the change in elevation. Colvin can get 2-3 starts per week at home spelling Helton, Cuddyer, Fowler or even Gonzalez rarely. It will take creativity, but Colvin has earned the opportunity to start more.

Off topic.

Lots of links after the jump.

Michael Cuddyer happy to be with Colorado Rockies, 24-35 record aside - The Denver Post You knew someone would ask him eventually. Even with the Twins mired in last place themselves, Cuddyer left his comfortable home for a team struggling to find its way. Cuddyer says he's happy, and I'm sure he is. He also says an interesting thing about playing as a Rockie:

"It's a lot harder to recover. In terms of getting out of bed, it is tougher; getting yourself ready is tougher. You really have to pay attention to what your body is telling you here, your water intake. There's a physical issue involved."

The Rockies agreed to terms with 10th overall pick David Dahl yesterday, which while not surprising, is certainly encouraging, especially at a below slot bonus. When he signs, he will be the first top Rockies pick to sign before the August deadline since Christian Friedrich in 2008. The new CBA moved the deadline up to July, but the draft pool process has also aided in getting draft picks signed earlier. Good news for Grand Junction residents.

Make sure to keep up with the RockiesRoster Draft Tracker on all signings. In addition to the list there, 19th rounder Kyle Newton appears to have signed.

Patrick Saunders answered his weekly mailbag for the Post.

Did Jose Valverde Throw A Spitball? - Baseball Nation This story is amusing from many angles - that the "doctored" baseball was a 94mph fastball, that the pitch had no great difference in movement according to Pitch F/X, and that the whole story was brought to the forefront by Mat Latos' wife.

Dirk Hayhurst: The art of doctoring baseballs is alive and well in the year 2012 | Big League Stew - Yahoo! Sports A must-read author on baseball these days, Hayhurst touches on the subject of doctoring baseballs, expanding on one small theme in his Out of My League book.

Baseball Prospectus | Baseball ProGUESTus: Scouting with PITCHf/x - Adam Foster of Project Prospect provides a guest piece at BPro on Pitchf/x and how it can help with scouting as well as confuse one using it even more.

On Jamie Moyer and going out on top - Chris Lund opines about Jamie Moyer's legacy at The Hardball Times.

Minor Leagues

The Minor Leagues' Colorful Team Names - Baseball Nation There is a book out about all the fun minor league team names. Rob Neyer highlights four teams that will be changing names this season. One is a current Rockies affiliate. One is a former Rockies affiliate that is moving, and another is an unrelated team assuming that former Rockies affiliate's identity.

Baseball America | Blog | Baseball America Prospects Blog | Rockies’ Edwar Cabrera Tosses Seven Scoreless Edwar Cabrera's performance last night was good enough to earn him a front page feature on Baseball America.

Baseball Prospectus | Future Shock: Monday Morning Ten Pack Kevin Goldstein highlights one Rockie prospect. The gist:

"Matzek's (sic) could wind up as anything from a minor league blow-out to a big league star, and it's the kind of starts he had on Saturday that keep hope for the latter alive."