With the possibility of Tulowitzki’s return to the Toronto Blue Jays lineup today or tomorrow, here’s a look at some of his career numbers.
In anticipation of Troy Tulowitzki’s return to the lineup, I looked at his career batting numbers. What I found are some rather interesting home/away splits: the Toronto Blue Jays’ 32-year-old shortstop is a notably better hitter at home than on the road. This may not exactly surprise anyone given that Tulowitzki has only ever called two of MLB’s most hitter-friendly parks home, but it’s worth taking a look at the actual numbers.
At home, Tulowitzki is a career .313 hitter with a .385 on-base percentage. He has collected 728 hits, 123 home runs, 421 runs, and 441 RBI in 624 career home games played between Coors Field and Rogers Centre. Having said all this, there should be no question that Tulowitzki has always preferred hitting at Coors Field – just compare his career slash lines for Coors Field and Rogers Centre: .320/.392/.557 (529 games) versus .264/.334/.456 (101). They hardly seem comparable.
Before you get hung up on these numbers, however, consider his career numbers on the road: he’s a .270 hitter with an on-base percentage of .341. Away from Coors Field and Rogers Centre, Tulowitzki has collected 616 hits, 95 home runs, 329 runs, and 322 RBI in 612 career games. He has arguably been most successful as a visiting player facing the New York Mets at Citi Field, posting an impressive slash line of .438/.534/.833 in 14 career games (Tulowitzki played two games at Shea Stadium before its decommission in 2008, but his numbers here aren’t worth repeating). On the other hand, if you’re looking for a larger sample size, Tulowitzki’s slash line of .285/.348/.455 in 68 career games against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park is impressive in its own way.
To put all of these numbers into the context of Tulowitzki’s overall career, he’s a .292 hitter with a .363 on-base percentage. This translates into 1344 hits, 218 home runs, 750 runs, and 763 RBI across 12 seasons and 1236 games. With his current contract set to expire in 2020 – the Blue Jays hold an option for 2021) – he’ll have plenty of opportunity to pad these numbers.
If the difference between Tulowitzki’s performance at Coors Field versus the Rogers Centre, or at home versus on the road, troubles you, then it’s worth remembering that all of these numbers are good, especially for someone hitting in the middle of the batting order. Tulowitzki is no longer hitting leadoff or expected to carry the offence all on his own, so there’s less pressure on him to produce these days – a point that shouldn’t be taken to mean he’s not producing these days. The Blue Jays’ offence simply isn’t dependent on Tulowitzki and that’s a good thing for both the player and the team. It gives the player more time and space to work things out, and it doesn’t leave the team exposed to a one-dimensional offence (we have Jose Bautista for that).
What might matter most in the case of Tulowitzki is age. His offensive production has sharply declined in recent years. He hit a career best .340 in 2014 with the Rockies at the age of 29 – around the age of general peak performance for baseball players according to stats guru Nate Silver – before slipping to a career worst .254 just two years with the Blue Jays at the age of 31 (both figures are based on at least 300 at-bats). This points to a potentially precarious rate of decline for Tulowitzki, and Blue Jays fans better hope 2016 – not the Coors Field-Rogers Centre splits or the home-away splits – proves the outlier.
As stated, the Blue Jays have Tulowitzki under contract until the end of the 2020 at the earliest. That’s plenty of time for his numbers to increase, stabilize, or further decline. The odds, at least, say we’ve already seen the best of Tulowitzki. Now it’s a question of how well he ages at home, on the road, and in general.
*FEATURED IMAGE CREDIT: Terry Foote UNDER CC BY-SA 2.0
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