Cubs' '06 selection of Colvin has paid off

Cubs' '06 selection of Colvin has paid off

HOUSTON -- When Cubs scouting director Tim Wilken picked then-Clemson outfielder Tyler Colvin in the first round of the 2006 First-Year Player Draft, it raised some eyebrows.

Colvin had hit .359 with 12 home runs, 22 doubles, five triples and 65 RBIs in 64 games for Clemson in his junior year. He had a .315 career average with the Tigers, yet Baseball America ranked him 170th among position players that year.

"I really believe in this guy's ability," Wilken said at the time.

Colvin now is with the Cubs, opening the season with the big league team for the first time. In 46 games, he's batting .293 with five homers and 13 RBIs. And this week, he was joined by another of Wilken's first-round picks, pitcher Andrew Cashner, who was selected in 2008.

"I've been in situations before where it wasn't the prognosticators' pick or even in that area," Wilken said of the Draft, which begins Monday. "You can't worry about that. You have to go with what your evaluations take you to.

"As you know, we're probably scrutinized a little more in Chicago," Wilken said. "I was fortunate to be in Toronto where it wasn't as scrutinized in the beginning. You could do things without having it be questioned. I think we all thought Cashner would be a pretty darn good pitcher. Whether it's going to be a reliever or starter, that's to be determined down the road.

"With Tyler, I knew what they were saying, I knew what I was seeing and I wasn't going to let that part bother me."

The left-handed-hitting outfielder may have reached the Major Leagues sooner if not for a sore elbow that required Tommy John surgery in 2008. Wilken ignored all the so-called experts who projected Colvin to be tabbed later in the Draft.

"I knew he was a lot better player than that," Wilken said. "He knew he was. The good thing about Tyler is he doesn't say a lot. He really grinded through that Tommy John. ... He had six different episodes [with his elbow] before that Tommy John and he never cried about it."

Colvin, who was a first baseman and converted to an outfielder at Clemson, now has four game-winning RBIs this season, second most among all rookies behind Atlanta's Jason Heyward.