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Seeing Tyler Colvin over the weekend brought back memories of the bizarre and near-
tragic accident that befell him in 2010 and the effect of changes in bat rules.
On Sept. 19, teammate Welington Castillo’s bat broke and hit Colvin, who was coming
in from third, and a sharp piece hit Colvin in the chest, puncturing a lung. Colvin was
hospitalized and missed the rest of the season. The results could have been much worse
had Colvin been hit elsewhere.
Oddly enough, the incident happened at the end of the first season of a new set of rules
designed to reduce the chances of such an incident.
Castillo’s bat was made of maple. Maple bats tend to break more easily and violently
than traditional ash bats. Before the 2010 season major league baseball required that
first-year players use denser maple bats and that bat-makers use ink dots to identify
the grain patterns in maple bats.
Players who had already used lighter-density maple bast could continue to use them
throughout their careers. But any new player would have to use the denser models for
their career.
The result was a reduction in the number and severity of broken bats, falling 15
percent from the previous season, the New York Times reported.
Castillo was a rookie in 2010, so his bat ā€“ which if you see a video looks like ash but
reportedly was not ā€“ was covered by the new rules.
The number of broken bats in 2009 fell 35 percent from 2008 with no rule change.
At any rate, the dangerous shards from broken bats seem less numerous than just a
few years ago, and announcers and writers hardly mention the danger any more.
It’s hard to say if the incident was the cause, but Colvin’s career took a downward
trajectory.
Colvin, picked 13th overall in the 2006 after playing at Clemson, was putting up
impressive offensive numbers in 2010, hitting .254, slugging .500 with an OPS of .816.
His fielding was somewhat suspect. FanGraphs’ total zone rated him nine runs below
league average that season.
He slumped in 2011, hitting .150, spent a lot of time in the minors, and was
sent to Colorado for the 2012 season. He rebounded in Denver, hitting .290 with an
OPS+ of 114.
He regressed in 2013, hitting .160 and playing 67 games in Class AAA.
He signed a deal with the Orioles in the off-season but failed the physical. He wound
up with the Giants. Through Monday he had 96 plate appearances and was hitting .258
with a .752 OPS.

 

Tyler Colvin's statistics                                                            
Year   Age  Tm  Lg   G   PA HR RBI   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS OPS+
2009    23 CHC  NL   6   20  0   2 .176 .250 .176 .426   12
2010    24 CHC  NL 135  395 20  56 .254 .316 .500 .816  113
2011    25 CHC  NL  80  222  6  20 .150 .204 .306 .509   38
2012    26 COL  NL 136  452 18  72 .290 .327 .531 .858  114
2013    27 COL  NL  27   78  3  10 .160 .192 .280 .472   21
2014    28 SFG  NL  33   96  1  14 .258 .302 .449 .752  113
6 Yrs              417 1263 48 174 .242 .290 .454 .744   93
162 Game Avg.      162  491 19  68 .242 .290 .454 .744   93
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