Blue Jays’ offence needs Troy Tulowitzki’s bat for success
Since the Toronto Blue Jays acquired Troy Tulowitzki from Colorado on July 28, 2015, Tulo has be unable to find the offensive form that made him a staple in the Rockies offence for a decade
The $20 million man has been all out of sorts at the plate for nearly half a season since joining Toronto Blue Jays. Where is the 5-time all-star, franchise player, and feared hitter that Troy Tulowitzki was for nearly ten years?
The conversations about Tulo’s “slump” have picked up on local sports radio networks lately. Sportsnet’s Arden Zwelling, not tipping his opinion one way or the other, brought up the scary, but unlikely possibility that Tulowitzki has hit some sort of rapid decline and skipped the slowly tailing off process that aging hitters typically face.
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Odds are he will come out of it at some point — his talent and work ethic are too special for him not to. When that will be remains to be seen. But if one thing is for certain, it’s that the Blue Jays need Tulo’s bat to succeed.
The Jays offence has petered off from its relentless 2015 season, but it still remains in the middle of the pack in most team statistics across the MLB. They rank between 14th and 18th in runs scored, hits, doubles, total bases, on-base percentage, and on-base plus slugging. It’s far from a lousy, unproductive offence when you compare it to league averages, but the steep decline from last season makes it seem that way. The trouble starts with the .233 team batting average that ranks in the bottom five in Major League Baseball and the second most strikeouts in the league.
While most of the Blue Jays regulars have had early season struggles at times, Russell Martin, Ryan Goins, and Tulowitzki’s have been most notable. However the numbers suggest Tulo’s contribution is the most valuable.
Tulo has played 74 regular season games in a Jays uniform and the team has won almost every game that he chipped in on offence, dating back to his acquisition last July.
The 30-year-old has driven in at least one run in nine different games this year. The Blue Jays record when he does? 9-0. If you include last year’s regular season games, Toronto has a 20-2 record when Tulo picks up an RBI. Obviously, when a number five or six hitter chips in offensively the chances of winning increase, but the overwhelming number of wins that come from a converted Tulowitzki scoring opportunity are hard to ignore.
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Including the solo home run against Matt Cain and the Giants, Tulo has now homered in ten different regular season games with Toronto. The Blue Jays have a perfect 10-0 record when he goes deep — six of those wins have come this season.
While he has fallen down to the sixth slot in the batting order, the mantra remains the same. Tulowitzki is a significant part of this batting lineup and as the old saying goes, hitting is contagious. If this trend continues, a 70-80 RBI season from the shortstop would lead to plenty of wins for a Blue Jays team starving for another shot at October baseball.