Cubs Draft Report
Colvin is first-round surprise
CHICAGO--When Tyler Colvin
was 12 years old, he carried a 200 average in bowling.
Eight years later, he carried a .359 average in baseball.
So any thoughts of joining a pro bowlers' tour have gone out the window. Especially after he was selected by the Cubs in the first round of the draft.
The lefthanded-hitting outfielder, who is currently a junior at Clemson, was stunned when the Cubs selected him 13th overall. Baseball America ranked him as the 170th-best prospect in the draft. But Cubs scouting director Tim Wilken
trusts his eyes and his scouts' eyes more than any projections.
"I really believe in this guy's ability," Wilken said. "I think you can see if in the numbers--the gradual increases. And I think there is more to come from this player.
"If you want to go back to some history there was Alex Rios, who was nowhere on the board. There was Vernon Wells, who was about 25th-40th on the board. It's one of those things. It's the eye of the beholder, and I hope the Chicago Cubs are the beholders of a solid major league baseball player."
So was it a surprise for Colvin to get the call so early in the draft?
"Yes it was," Colvin said. "I thought if I had a good season, I hoped someone would pick me up. Being the 13th pick overall--that's very big."
As are his stats this year.
Through his first 64 games, Colvin was hitting .359-12-65 with 22 doubles, five triples and 27 walks. He was named the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament MVP after going 10-for-24 in five games.
The first two years at Clemson, Colvin carried a .285 average. He really blossomed his junior season, and that's why Wilken is confident the outfielder is worth a first-round gamble.
"I think Tyler's probably one of those guys who's a late-maturing type guy, not only in the success that he's had this year at Clemson," Wilken said. "He's a slender guy physically that's got a frame that's still got some projection to it. So I don't know if we're seeing the full Tyler Colvin yet.
"He's a very good baseball player, an excellent outfielder in left field. There are some thoughts that we may put him in center field. He's an average runner who's a very good baserunner. He leads his team in steals, also. We like his ability to be a hitter most of all."CUBBYHOLE
• The Cubs raised a few eyebrows when they drafted Notre Dame righthander Jeff Samardzija
, who could be a first-round pick as a receiver in the NFL draft next year. But the Cubs hope to sign him and let him play at short-season Boise from June 19 through early August when he participates in football drills. The Cubs lost their second-, third- and fourth-round picks because of their offseason free agent signings so they are confident this is a safe gamble.
• The Cubs drafted Cal Poly infielder Josh Lansford
in the sixth round. Lansford is the son of former major leaguer Carney Lansford
and the brother of Athletics righthander Jared Lansford
, who was drafted in the second round last year out of high school.