Bill Streicher / USA TODAY Sports

Toronto Blue Jays' Troy Tulowitzki On The Decline

Even though the shortstop blasted 24 home runs in 2016, he hasn’t exactly been what the Blue Jays expected to get in 2015 and there are reasons to be afraid of a career debacle, as young as he still is.

Troy Tulowitzki’s OPS with the Toronto Blue Jays is 4% below the American League average was in 2016. There is no way that anyone could’ve seen his debacle coming two years ago, when the shortstop was part of one of the most important trades of the 2015 Trade Deadline, where he was traded to the Canadian team from the Colorado Rockies, who got José Reyes, Jesús Tinoco, Miguel Castro and Jeff Hoffman in return.

Tulowitzki perhaps was, by then, the best shortstop in the National League. A couple of weeks before his trade, he played in the All Star Game, his third appearance in a row, as well; he had two Golden Gloves and his numbers suggested he’d go on to build a lethal offensive in Toronto alongside José Bautista, Edwin Encarnación and Josh Donaldson in the lineup.

After Encarnación’s exit, he’s been required to make his presence more noted in the field.

During his Colorado stay, he managed a slash line of .299/.371/.513, along with 188 home runs blasted, 657 rund batted in, 660 runs scored and 1165 hits, in 1048 games scattered throughout 100 seasons.

Toronto had more than enough reasons to think they could finally have a lineup capable of seizing their first World Series title since 1992.

John Gibbons’ team was very close to making it to the Fall Classic during that year, but they ended just behind the Kansas City Royals, the side that went on to win the championship that season.

Still, Tulowitzki didn’t turn out to be exactly what the Blue Jays expected to get during that trade. It is fair to point out that he has blasted 30 homers, 33 doubles, and he has 106 runs batted in to his name, as well as 90 runs scored, in just over a season and a half, which goes hand in hand with his previous trajectory, but there are reasons to think something’s wrong.

His averages in Toronto are far below his usual career standard. In 188 games with Toronto, he has a slash line of .251/.316/.424, which should be enough to trigger some alarms, as he only has 32 years of age and shouldn’t start to show such a decline yet.

In 2017, prior to his injury, he had begun the year with .263/.295/.386. He only had one homer and four doubles to his name in 16 games and his OPS was .681, 180 below his career’s standard in that department by then.

Some measurements have also suggested that he isn’t batting as strong as he once did.

According to Fangraphs.com, the shortstop had never hit the ball so weakly in his whole career. He’s blasting it 15% weaker than he did in 2013, the year he had one of his best seasons in the MLB. Back then, his hits came out either strong or partially strong in 84% of his at-bats. During the start of this season, he has managed those results in just 69% of his opportunities, before being placed in the disable list.

The question that now arises is how much did his figures were helped by the fact that he played in the Coors Field, a very solid query.

Tulowitzki had played, until 2014, 480 games outside the Colorado Rockies’ pitch with a .274/.349/.469 slash line, accompanied by 77 home runs, 94 doubles, 486 hits, 255 runs batted in and 268 runs scored with a .818 OPS; compared to a .323/.397/.565 slash line in Coors Field, where he popped 99 homers, 111 doubles, 582 hits, 394 runs batted in and scored 346 runs with an OPS of .962.

He accomplished all of this at home in just one more match (481) than those he played at home that season.

Butt even outside Coors Field he was still a star player, not someone whose average is below the American League’s standard.


Hardball Scoop Top Stories