Evaluating the Talent: Troy Tulowitzki


It should be pretty easy to sum up Troy Tulowitzki. He’s the kind of guy you build a team around. And lucky for the Rockies, he’s also a franchise player, rather than a big contract grabber. He should be leading his team and his fans to championships, or at least division titles. So why isn’t he?

So far so good in spring training for Tulo. Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Well, the one-word answer is: injuries. Tulo gets hurt. A lot. He’s averaged 113 games in his last 5 seasons, and last year was a hide-y0ur-eyes depressing 47 games. No wonder the Rockies lost a franchise-worst 98 games. Their centerpiece was mostly rehabbing and undergoing surgery. Tulo’s instability due to his frequent stints on the DL has earned him a reputation. He’s still the best shortstop in baseball talent-wise, but every fantasy expert will tell you the same thing: Have a back-up plan. This guy may or may not have the opportunity to meet expectations.

Now, here’s the thing. Technically it’s not Tulo’s fault that he gets injured. It’s not like he’s lazy or juicing or getting suspended for domestic violence or any of the other things that players do to sabotage their careers. Nobody works harder than Tulo, and nobody puts more pressure on himself to perform. But that’s the problem. The man has not learned that taking a couple of days off for some tightness goes a long way toward preventing season-ending surgery. Some guys can play a 162-game season without any rest and hold their bodies together, but Tulo is not one of those guys. He’s got too many thigh/groin/hamstring issues to try to be the next Cal Ripken. If he can’t figure this out for himself, his manager needs to mandate that he take a day off every other week or so. Jim Tracy did that now and then but Tulo whined pretty loudly. Will he have more respect for Walt Weiss‘s decisions? We’ll have to see, but I know this: Tulo will turn out to be the biggest disappointment in Rockies’ history if this situation doesn’t turn itself around.

Let’s be optimistic for a second. Supposing Tulo does take off 2 games a month in addition to scheduled off-days. Let’s say he avoids injury, major or minor. What do his numbers look like? On that we can all agree. In 150 games, he’ll hit .300, 30 homers, and drive in 100 runs. No question. He is also the best defensive shortstop in the game, despite last year’s clumsiness, and he’ll save 30 runs in a season. And we avoid another record for number of losses, even if we don’t rise above the rest in the division.

Tulo, we need you. Please take it a little easier. We are begging.

Where should Tulowitzki be in 2013? Starting at shortstop, but resting often.

Where will Tulowitzki be in 2013? Starting at shortstop, resting as much as he can be persuaded to.