Blue Jays: Good, Bad, and Ugly- Troy Tulowitzki
By Craig Borden
Jays Journal takes a look back at 2017, and the good, bad, and the ugly of each individual performance from the roster. Today we look up the middle to Troy Tulowitzki. The often injured stud shortstop had another rough season in blue but continues to be a key player going forward.
The Toronto Blue Jays fan base should rejoice knowing that they have Troy Tulowitzki manning shortstop day in and day out but have had trouble getting on board with him due to injuries. This season, unfortunately, was not Tulo’s coming out party in Blue Jays blue as he had another injury slowed season. Tulo was one of the most feared power shortstops in the game when the Blue Jays acquired him at the 2015 trade deadline. When healthy he was often in the MVP conversation and was known for being one of the best at his craft. The five-time All-Star has been unable to put it all together for a full season to show Jays fans what he can do.
Tulo was the face of the Colorado Rockies for years and he himself was shocked when he got the call about the trade to Toronto. When Tulo was healthy he put up great numbers and played stellar defense. Even after a few rough season his 162 game average for his career still boasts a .290 batting average with 28 homers and 98 RBIs. Tulo can be one of the best in the game and the Jays fans have unfortunately had the misfortune of only seeing flashes of what he is capable of.
Troy Tulowitzki may be getting older but is still more than capable at shortstop. The 33-year-old is still one of the best defensive wizards in the Majors at short. He has great range and a plus arm that allows him to get out base runners that many would not have a chance on. A master of the jump throw and acting as a coach on the field Tulo anchor’s the infield for the Blue Jays. In an injury-riddled season, he played in just 66 games and committed eight errors. This is up from his previous season in which he played 128 games and committed just nine errors. It is hard to be consistent when you are not getting in the repetitions that are needed to stay sharp at any position. Regardless he made plenty of highlight plays in those 66 games.
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One thing that Tulo might not get enough credit for is his leadership and work ethic. Tulo is known in the clubhouse for being one of the leaders and provides a great veteran for young players to learn from. Tulo is always the first to the mound or to communicate with his teammates. On the field you see him providing direction and encouragement along with his passion to win. This is accentuated when he is playing well and the team in performing. This unsung quality should have him front and center heading into the next few seasons as the Jays look to get younger and still compete for a playoff spot.
Tulo has been unable to get going at the plate in the hitter-friendly AL East. The ballparks should play well for a player like Tulowitzki. He hits the ball hard and is more of a line drive hitter. A player that makes solid contact usually thrives in the AL East with the small ballparks with great power alleys. Tulo has yet to discover the perks of playing in these stadiums. Tulo played in Colorado for the majority of his career which is a known hitters park. He consistently batted near .300 and had plenty of pop shown in his power numbers. The Rogers Centre is not Coors Field but the amount of hitter-friendly parks should more than compensate for that fact. This past season he had 17 extra base hits in his 66 games. Tulo had a better 2016 season in this aspect but the numbers are not even close when he batted around .250 each season.
Over the course of his career Tulo has had more than his share of injuries. Since becoming a Blue Jay it is starting to feel like a broken record as we keep hearing he is hurt. It is hard for any player to contribute when they can not consistently stay on the field. Tulo is one of those players that can get in a groove that will last the entire season. If he can not get going due to injury its hard to have anything go right. A player that can get hurt twice for an extended amount of time and only played in 66 games never reached a groove of any kind at the plate. It is like he was still in Spring Training while the rest of the league is in mid-season form.
Next: Blue Jays: Good, Bad, and Ugly- Steve Pearce
The Blue Jays need to hope they get the best of Troy Tulowitzki this coming season. They would be wise to have a solid replacement to possibly take on some starts if Tulo gets hurt, however. Tulo still has plenty left in the tank and he can still be a gold glove caliber player at short. The Jays medical staff has to find a way to keep Tulo on the field. He is a leader the team needs and if he can get in a groove offensively he can still be very dangerous. Is this the season that Jays fans see the real Tulo as he flashes back to his MVP level of play that he started in Colorado? The team really needs him to play most of this season if they are going to be competitive during there talent reload.