May 21, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; Colorado Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki (2) at bat against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

The $134 Million Dollar Man


Troy Tulowitzki, The $134 million dollar man; is he playing up to his contract?

As the all-star break approaches, the time for teams to buckle down and get ready for a playoff run is right around the corner. For the Colorado Rockies, a playoff run is more than likely out of the question. Instead of going over playoff chances, Rockies fans are left with questions. When a team is having as bad of a season as the Rockies, there’s many chances to take a look at the whole picture of the franchise. There’s also plenty of blame to go around.

As a writer, you’re always asking questions and looking at different ways to evaluate a team. As fans are asking questions, so am I. The biggest question I have about this team; is Troy Tulowitzki living up to his $134 million dollar contract extension?

Injuries have been a trend for Tulowitzki. In 2008, Tulowitzki suffered a torn left quadriceps tendon and missed 47 games. Last year, he missed games with a quadriceps issue, and missed the final games because of hip flexor pain. And of course his trip to DL this season is because of a left groin strain that turned into an irritated nerve and could keep him out until August. Tulowitzki hasn’t played since May 30. If I could give Tulowitzki advice I would tell him to relax. His problem is he plays at such an intense level that he’s willing to sacrifice his body to make a play on defense. This has led to the injuries that are becoming a consistent problem.

It’s great that you can see Tulowitzki’s passion, but it has been his downfall during his seven year career. He has a tendency to force a swing at the plate when the team may be counting on him. What usually follows is a first or second pitch pop-out.

When you look at Tulowitzki statistically, you might immediately call me crazy for asking if he is playing up to his contract. His career .292 batting average makes me sound like i’m spiking my coffee, but after signing his $134 million dollar extension, his production dropped in 2011. He hasn’t been known recently as a clutch player. He is considered to be the best player on this team, along side Carlos Gonzalez, so things are expected of a player of that caliber.

At the beginning of the 2011 season, the first year under Tulowitzki’s new deal, a close look at his numbers at the plate became more necessary.  A disturbing trend occurred as the game went on. His batting average dropped.

Innings 1-3: .332

Innings 4-6: .309

Innings 7-9: .260

An even more disturbing number was his late & close stat, which are plate appearances in the 7th inning or later with the batting team tied, ahead by one, or the tying run at least on deck. His average dropped down to .185

This season in the 47 games he played before injury, there was some improvement in these same situations. There was a drop with his batting average in innings 1-6, but the difference is instead of his batting average decreasing as the game goes on, it was improving in innings 7-9. The biggest jump came in the late & close stat. It sat at .382.

Innings 1-3: .276

Innings 4-6: .266

Innings 7-9:  .280

Before Tulowitzki found himself on the DL, his batting average was .287. This is not going to cut it for the leader and the highest paid player on the team.

In no way am I advocating a trade. Even with the early struggles of Tulowitzki on defense, his value on defense can’t be ignored.

It’s fair to say that I demand to much from Tulowitzki, but he looks at himself as the leader and a leader needs to come through in clutch situations when the team is counting on him.

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Tags: Carlos Gonzalez Colorado Rockies Troy Tulowitzki