After starting the 2016 season rather slowly, Blue Jays’ short stop, Troy Tulowitzki appears to be showing signs of returning to form.
When former GM, Alex Anthopoulos surprised everyone at the 2015 July Trade Deadline, Troy Tulowitzki became a Blue Jay. It was one of the more pleasant blindsides a fan can experience. In one ninja-like move, the Blue Jays rid themselves of a defensively declining Jose Reyes, who would go on to be outed for domestic violence. In return, Toronto got one of the best shortstops in the game; a guy we’d only heard of on top of positional rankings and 5 All Star games.
In order to pull the trade off, Toronto would send top prospect, Jeff Hoffman plus to Colorado, which would combine with Tulo’s salary to create high expectations among Blue Jays fans. The expectations were met with a solid second half of 2015 and a post season berth. Save for an unfortunate bump with Kevin Pillar, Tulo’s time in Toronto was mostly positive.
Over the winter, we were left convinced that a full season of Troy Tulowitzki would be amazing. And, in theory, it would. We’re talking about a player who is among the best at what he does. He’s a career .293/.366/.504 hitter with 6 seasons with a WAR above 5. He also has 6 seasons of 20 or more home runs. That is not to mention that he’s been worth 85 DRS for his career.
But, to start 2016, Tulo just hasn’t lived up to his billing. The reactions have been mixed, ranging from “He’ll be fine” to “He’s done”. Regardless of the temperature of the take, everyone wanted an answer to the question of what is wrong with Tulo. Our own James Dailey looked the 31 yr old’s struggles against the high heat. Some even suggested that Tulo’s vision was declining. Some takes were valid, others not. But, it highlights the sheer confusion surrounding the start to the season.
We didn’t know why Tulo struggled, we just knew it was frustrating. Look at his April:
The 4 home runs are not really the issue, it was everything else. Tulo was just not putting together good at bats, his awareness of the strike zone seemingly questionable. Take the following:
It seems as though there were a lot of those kind of at bats; the ones that resulted in a strike out where the only one confused about the pitch was Tulo. Perhaps, the only thing matching the frustration of fans would be that of his own.
But, here we are in May and things are starting to look a little better. He went deep to seal the win on Friday night, which was also his 200th career home run.
But, there’s more to it than that. Take a look at this:
|Last 7 days||5||22||3||4||1||2||6||2||4||.222||.318||.611||.929|
|Last 14 days||11||47||5||8||1||3||9||2||12||.186||.234||.419||.653|
One thing you might notice is the number of whiffs is more palatable. The OBP is going up. His OPS over the last 7 days is just a bit higher than his career mark of .869. Tulo is getting on base more often and is scoring more runs. The hist are starting to come. This has to be encouraging for fans who have been frustrated thus far.
There is the usual caveat that go with a conversation like this: it is a small sample size and we can’t use it to say something definitive one way or another. Except, with Tulo, you have to expect that his performance would creep toward his career norms at some point. It is just a matter of waiting to see it happen. We could be at the beginning of it now.
*Featured Image Credit: Terry Foote UNDER CC BY-SA 2.0
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Shaun Doyle is a long time Blue Jays fan and writer! He decided to put those things together and create Jays From the Couch. Shaun is the host of Jays From the Couch Radio, which is highly ranked in iTunes, and he has appeared on TV and radio spots.