Tyler Colvin undergoes Tommy John Surgery

You may have come across the news that Tyler Colvin had left the Arizona Fall League due to an elbow injury. Supposedly it was something that was troubling him for much of the 2008 season and according to our pals at Inside the Ivy, Colvin did undergo Tommy John Surgery on Sunday. The procedure has become rather common place these days and Colvin should be back for a good portion of the 2009 season although it's likely he'll start out in extended spring training in Arizona before being assigned to a minor league affiliate.

That does take him off as a potential trading chip this offseason, although his .736 OPS in AA probably already took care of that.

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Tim Wilken is nothing if not consistent. His 2005 #1 pick Wade Townsend pitched a few sore arm innings in 2005 and then spent all of 2006 recovering from Tommy John surgery. He's perpetually injured and generally sucked since and is on his way out of baseball.

Then, for some damn reason, the Cubs turned their draft over to him and he picked sore armed Tyler Colvin #1 in 2006.

YEEZUS!

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?arti...

DL: You were with the Devil Rays in 2005 when Wade Townsend
was the eighth-overall pick, a decision reportedly made by management
against the wishes of the scouting department. Who did you want with
that pick?

TW: Let me put the truth on the table. I went to management on
the day of the draft and gave them the name of the guy I wanted. They
went in a different direction, and what’s done is done. It would be
best for me not to get into it beyond that.

keep throwing darts navigator, you'll hit something eventually 

Give him a break, he got the info from Wilken's Wikipedia entry.

Did Wilken also write a book about some girl's ashes?

does your quest to be full of shit ever end? you can turn any event into a cause for your agenda-of-the-moment. geez.

well fuck...

ARRRRRG.

at least it happened in october if it's gonna happen at all.

damn...now that's some rotten luck.

it it's good for Pujols, it's good for...

oh well.

Tyler Colvin has had shoulder and elbow problems ever since the Cubs moved him from LF to RF after the 2006 season, and it's why he was moved from RF to CF in 2007 and then back to LF in 2008.

Because the Cubs presume Alfonso Soriano will be playing LF through 2014, several players in the organzation who were projected as left-fielders when they signed (most notably Tyler Colvin, Brandon Guyer, Cliff Andersen, Drew Rundle, and Ty Wright) were put on arm strengthening programs with the hope they could eventually play either CF or RF instead, but sometimes when you do that the player develops elbow and/or shoulder problems.

In the case of Colvin, he was moved from 1B to LF when he got to Clemson and was tried in CF by the Cubs to take advantage of his speed and  athleticism, but 1B is his "natural" position. So I wouldn't be surprised if Colvin is moved back to 1B once he completes his TJS rehab, with a move back to LF only if he gets traded.

Sometimes a young player relaxes at the plate once he is moved to the position where he feels most-comfortable, and that could be the case with Tyler Colvin.  

"Sometimes a young player relaxes at the plate once he is moved to the position where he feels most-comfortable, and that could be the case with Tyler Colvin."

I hope so. His career isn't looking so promising at this point, and right now he doesn't appear to project to be the sort of offensive performer you want at either LF or 1B.

If he's still got the speed for CF, will his arm really stop him from playing that position? It's not like Juan Pierre could ever throw.

Phil, do you put much stock into these arm strengthening programs? It doesn't seem like they could add much, and certainly not turn a LF arm into a RF arm. And given that these programs can lead to elbow and shoulder problems, are they even worth the risk? Thanks.

Submitted by Charlie on Mon, 10/27/2008 - 10:40am.

"Sometimes a young player relaxes at the plate once he is moved to the position where he feels most-comfortable, and that could be the case with Tyler Colvin."

I hope so. His career isn't looking so promising at this point, and right now he doesn't appear to project to be the sort of offensive performer you want at either LF or 1B.

If he's still got the speed for CF, will his arm really stop him from playing that position? It's not like Juan Pierre could ever throw.

========================

CHARLIE: Tyler Colvin has the speed to play CF, but not even considering his arm, I would still rate him as a below-average defender (at least so far).

If you can hit you can play LF even with below-average "ballhawk" skills, but that becomes more problematic when that same guy plays CF. And if Alfonso Soriano is entrenched in LF through 2014, Colvin might have to get traded to play the one outfield position (LF) where he isn't a defensive liability.

Now, it's possible that over time Colvin will develop into a passable CF (and if he remains with the Cubs and doesn't move to 1B he might just HAVE to play CF), but right now I can't see him as an MLB CF. 

Brandon Guyer is another player who has morphed into a Top 15 prospect, but like Colvin, the Cubs would prefer Guyer play CF or RF instead of LF (Guyer played 3B in HS but was moved to LF at UVA because Ryan Zimmerman was there).

To that end, the Cubs played Guyer only in CF and RF in the AZ Instructional League post-2008, but Guyer is basically still a LF, and it's very, very unlikely that he has te arm to play RF or (somewhat less-likely) the defensive skills to play CF. 

While he plays with a lot of energy (he's an Eric Byrnes clone), he still looks like a LF to me. That said, Guyer will probably play a lot of CF at Daytona in 2009, with the hope that he can maybe master the position at least to the extent that he won't be a liability out there. 

Thanks, Phil. Your reports make following our minor leaguers a lot more rewarding than simply looking at the stats.

Guyer had ten assists in 80 games at Peoria last season. That's a pretty good number. He got six assists in left field and four in center. He played about twice as many games in left.

For comparison, Soriano had ten assists in 108 games.

Reed Johnson had three outfield assists and Edmonds, predictably, had none. Fukudome had six assists in 149 games.

At Iowa, Felix Pie had five assists in 84 games in center, while Josh Kroeger had five assists in 107 games in right.

Kroeger had a decent year at Iowa (.307/.373/.514), nothing to brag about. He's killing the ball right now (1.543 OPS after 30 at-bats) in Caracas, where he bats third ahead of Matt LaPorta. Small world.

Kroeger may find himself in a good position in spring training, on a team that doesn't want to pour more money into right field but doesn't like the incumbent.

Submitted by VirginiaPhil on Mon, 10/27/2008 - 4:23pm.

Guyer had ten assists in 80 games at Peoria last season. That's a pretty good number. He got six assists in left field and four in center. He played about twice as many games in left.

=========================

VA PHIL: Brandon Guyer had a fractured elbow in Spring Training so he was used mostly as a DH at EXST, but when I saw him play CF recently in the AZ Instructional League, the SS or 2B had to go halfway out into CF to get the relay throw when Guyer was throwing from the warning track, and his throws were weak from RF, too (Jacque Jones-like).

The best OF arms in the Cubs minor leagues belong to Kyler Burke, Ryan Harvey, Nelson Perez, Felix Pie, and Sam Fuld.

It sounds like Brandon Guyer needs to rest his throwing arm for a month or so and then begin the strengthening program. Jericho Jones came into Mesa with a "dead arm" after pitching (weekend starter) & playing right field in college (overused & abused).The trainer shut his arm down in instructionals to start a rest & strenthening program. When he reports to spring training the Cubs brass will get to see the extraordinary strong arm he has (when he can concentrate on RF only).As far as assists go...... sometimes an outfielder doesn't have a remarkable amount of assists because the opposing teams respect his arm and won't chance testing him.

Submitted by Timmer on Mon, 10/27/2008 - 3:59pm.

Phil, do you put much stock into these arm strengthening programs? It doesn't seem like they could add much, and certainly not turn a LF arm into a RF arm. And given that these programs can lead to elbow and shoulder problems, are they even worth the risk? Thanks.

==================================

TIMMER: I guess the Cubs figure it's worth a try, but it seems to just cause sore arms, so I doubt that it has a lot of value in the long run.

But with Alfonso Soriano is entrenched in LF through 2014, it means outfielders better be able to play either CF or RF (or pitcher, catcher, or an infield slot) if they want to get to the big leagues with the Cubs.

what kind of programs they working with them?

they using those fashionable strap-resistance things you can latch onto a doorframe/fence/etc.?

Submitted by crunch on Mon, 10/27/2008 - 6:24pm.

what kind of programs they working with them? they using those fashionable strap-resistance things you can latch onto a doorframe/fence/etc.?

-------------------------------------

CRUNCH: I'm not exactly sure how the program works, but apparently it does get some good results in terms of improved arm strength, albeit with the possibility that the player will develop shoulder or elbow issues along the way.

thnx.

AZ Phil-
Great to see you again.

What can you tell me about Donnie Veal?

Will Cubs start stretching out Smardjza in winter league or wait for ST for starter role?

Submitted by jacos on Mon, 10/27/2008 - 6:47pm.

AZ Phil- Great to see you again.

What can you tell me about Donnie Veal?

Will Cubs start stretching out Smardjza in winter league or wait for ST for starter role?

=====================================

JACOS: Although Donald Veal has been EXTREMELY wild in the AFL, he still will be added to the 40-man roster.

The more I see of Veal, the more I am convinced that his future is as an "every-day" lefty specialist. He just throws too many pitches-per-inning to be a starter, and because he has a lot of trouble repeating his delivery and finding a consistent release point, throwing no more than one inning per appearance but doing it more often would probably be the best way to keep him from getting out of whack. As I've said before, Veal is like a European sports car.

Jeff Samardzija is taking the winter off, as the Cubs apparently feel he has thrown enough innings in 2008. As for whether The Shark will start or relieve in 2009, it depends on whether the Cubs re-sign Kerry Wood and/or Ryan Dempster, and if they do re-sign Dempster, whether they can unload Jason Marquis and his $9M+ '09 salary.

If the Cubs don't re-sign Wood, but do re-sign Dempster and do not trade Marquis, then I would say Samardzija will almost certainly be in the bullpen in 2009 (with Carlos Marmol taking over the closer's role). If the Cubs do not re-sign Dempster and/or if they trade Marquis, then Samardzija would probably compete with Sean Marshall and Rich Hill for a rotation starter slot.

BTW, RHP Justin Berg and LHP J. R. Mathes are both throwing well in the Venezuelan Winter League and are making bids to get added to the 40-man roster post-2008, along with RHP Mitch Atkins, LHP Donald Veal, and 2B Nate Spears (the latter three being virtual "locks" to get added to te 40).

The Cubs presently have 39 players on their 40-man roster, with eight potential free-agents (although two of the potential FA are still on the 60-day DL), so there should be seven open slots on the 40-man roster by 11/20. Even if two slots are left open for Ryan Dempster and Kerry Wood (should the Cubs re-sign one or both), they still could add as many as five minor leaguers to the 40-man roster (that's if if they want to add Atkins, Veal, Spears, Berg, and Mathes to the 40) without having to remove anybody from the 40-man roster.

And if additional roster slots are needed for a FA or two (or three) during the off-season, the Cubs could always just non-tender guys like Billy Petrick, Koyie Hill, Jake Fox, and/or Brad Snyder on 12/12 and then try and re-sign the non-tendered player to a 2009 minor league contract (probably for the minor league split-contract minimum and with an NRI to Spring Training, so that the player would get exactly what he would have gotten in 2009 if he had remained on the 40).

And the Cubs have until the end of the World Series to add potential minor league free-agents to the 40-man roster, in case they want to be sure of retaining control over guys like OF Josh Kroeger, RHP Dumas Garcia, and/or 1B-3B Matt Craig next season. (The Cubs can re-sign any of their minor league FAs to a 2009 minor league contract if the player is willing, but then the player could get selected in the Rule 5 Draft).

As VA Phil mentioned in an earlier comment above, Kroeger is absolutely hitting the bejeebers out of the ball in Venezuela (Kroeger leads the VWL in BA, OBP, and SLG). Kroeger is basically doing in Venezuela right now what Jody Gerut did there a year ago, and Gerut ended up having a fine season with the Padres in 2008. 

I've liked Kroeger since he came to the Cubs organization and I became aware of him, although he has admittedly not been a blow-you-away sort of hitter. I could see him having some success in the big leagues as reports are that he's not a ridiculous free swinger.

Don't the Cubs still have Sam Fuld on the 40-man? I would think he, Snyder, and Fox would be the first guys to be dropped. After the awful seasons that Fuld and Fox had in 2008, they shouldn't take up spaces that could be used on guys like Atkins, Berg, or Kroeger.

EDIT:

I guess I lost track of Fuld after his demotion. He went on to have an OK partial season with the AA affiliate, but still not a good step for his career.

Jake Fox also managed a .976 OPS in AA after struggling mightily in Iowa, but it looks like he's been relegated to 1B/DH duties lately.

Still, Spears outhit Fuld at both AA and AAA, and Kroeger put up an .887 OPS (to Fox's .720) in Iowa, bats left-handed and plays passable RF.

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