by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
There was a time that Troy Tulowitzki was the hands down, premier shortstop in the game… Outside of his injury concerns, of course, which always hung over him. Still 110 games of Tulowitzki along with a temporary fill in was a near certainty to out-produce any other option in the league.
You would’ve thought that the trade to Toronto wouldn’t have impacted his production too much, though his first full season in the AL East was less than spectacular:
492 At Bats
.254 Batting Average (125 Hits)
24 Home Runs
1 Stolen Bases
.318 On Base Percentage
.443 Slugging Percentage
.272 Batting Average on Balls in Play
His power production was actually right around where we would’ve expected it to be, with a 15.1% HR/FB (15.2% for his career) and 40.3% fly ball rate (38.5%). The “problem” was his drop in batting average and while he may not be a .310+ hitter at this stage of his career, you would think that there should be better days ahead.
In his first full season in the American League it isn’t a complete surprise that his strikeout rate rose (18.6%). That said it wasn’t an astronomical number by any stretch and his plate discipline was about what we would’ve expected:
- SwStr% – 8.4%
- O-Swing% – 28.4%
He also showed a significant improvement as the season wore on, with a 22.6% mark in the first half and a 14.3% mark in the second half. In other words, there shouldn’t be a concern in this regard.
It was his line drive rate that was the bigger issue, but like the strikeouts there was a significant leap forward after the All-Star Break:
- First Half – 13.9%
- Second Half – 24.0%
You would have thought that the second half mark would’ve yielded a tremendous improvement in his numbers, but it still yielded a modest .286 BABIP and .269 average. Granted he doesn’t have the speed that he once did, so we wouldn’t necessarily expect gaudy BABIP, but there is reason to think that luck will on his side for the coming season.
There’s every reason to believe that he should rise back into the .275-.280 range, at least, and with his power potential (and with it RBI/R upside) that’s certainly going to lock him into a Top 10 option for the coming year. Of course that declaration comes with the caveat of “assuming he’s healthy”, but we all know that issue. He is not the elite at the position anymore, but he also shouldn’t be ignored. If the rest of your league mates are ready to downgrade him significantly, don’t be afraid to step in and reap the benefits.
Source – Fangraphs