Brody Colvin has ridden the biggest of career roller coasters during his time as a pro with the Phillies. From signing his first contract, to an off-season arrest in 2010, to looking like a future ace as he mowed down Class A opposition in his first full professional season, to being demoted from the top spot in that year’s post-season rotation after a mental lapse in the field, to ranking among the Phils' best prospects, to tallying an 11.02 ERA in seven Double-A outings in 2012, the team's seventh round draft pick from 2009 has experienced a large amount of highs and lows in a few short years.
Once regarded as one of the Phillies' Baby Aces, Colvin hasn't displayed the command, velocity or the dominance that earned him the considerable praise that had many fans and experts so excited just a couple years back.
In his own words, during an exclusive interview last summer, mechanics and panic consumed Colvin as he hit a rough patch during his time with Class A Advanced Clearwater. Following a three-game stretch last May, during which Colvin went 0-2 with a 10.13 ERA, the 6-foot-3-inch 210-pounder was moved to the bullpen in an effort to take a break and clear his mind. From there, Colvin showed the Phils' brass that he was ready to return to a starting role and proceeded to post a 2.68 ERA and strike out more than a batter per inning over his next eight outings for Clearwater.
In late July, Colvin took a loss, letting up six earned runs in 4 2/3 innings for the Clearwater Threshers, but had impressed the Phillies enough with the string of success just prior to that poor effort, that he was promoted to Double-A Reading. Colvin quickly looked capable of competing in the Eastern League, going 1-0 while allowing five earned runs in 11 innings over his first two starts for Reading. The fair efforts didn't go on very long, however, as the Louisiana native proceeded to tally a 14.54 ERA the rest of the way and did not appear in the postseason for the R-Phils.
There was a drop in production the previous season for Colvin as well (3.38 ERA, 7.83 K/9, .258 batting average against with Lakewood in 2010/4.71 ERA, 6.02 K/9, .289 batting average against with Clearwater in 2011), but that was attributed to a back ailment that landed him on the disabled list and resulted in a dip in velocity.
With the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws in 2010, Colvin helped the club lock down their second consecutive league title, posting a 6-8 record during the regular season. During the latter portion of that campaign, he was pulled from a game, by manager Mark Parent, after failing to back up third base when an opposing batter slapped a triple. The mental mistake cost Colvin his assignment as the team’s number one starter going into the postseason that year. Prior to spring training that year, Colvin was charged with resisting arrest after a conflict outside a Louisiana night spot. That was Colvin as a 19-year-old. Now at 22, his maturity is no longer that of a hotheaded and absent-minded teenager.
At full health, proper mechanics should allow Colvin's arsenal (mid-90's fastball, circle change and strong curveball) to prevail. However, throwing strikes is always a big focus for Colvin's success, as his Achilles heel has long been his fastball command. The youngster stays within himself a lot, admitting that because he's the individual on the mound, in control of any necessary adjustments, he tends to not depend on the help available around him. That can potentially present a scenario where the problems with Colvin's mastery of his own repertoire can linger, fester and grow.
Heading into the 2013 season, Colvin certainly still has the the tools that allowed him to rise up the prospect rankings and to be considered among the top Phillies prospects in each of the past two years. It's up to the hurler to get back on track and make the necessary modifications to show that he can compete at the upper levels of pro ball.
The Phillies are still confident that Colvin's future is as a Major League pitcher. Look for Colvin to begin the year on Reading's staff.