Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
The Colorado Rockies are off to a very good start in 2014, battling the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants for supremacy in the National League West early on in the year. While it remains to be seen how long they can actually remain in contention for, given their low expectations heading into the year, their early success has put the spotlight directly on shortstop Troy Tulowitzki.
Tulowitzki has long been considered one of the very best position players in all of baseball, but health has become something of an issue for him in recent years. He appeared in only 47 games in 2012 before logging time in 126 last season. Even with the injury issues last season, he still managed to post very good numbers. Anything he’s done in his career to this point, however, pales in comparison to his start to 2014.
What Tulo is doing to this point is in absolutely no way, shape, or form something that is sustainable. It’s unreasonable to expect any player to continue doing what Tulowitzki is doing at the dish, but especially one with his dramatic splits and recently checkered injury history.
Tulowitzki’s hot start includes a .414 average, an on-base percentage up over .500, and an OPS of 1.286. His ISO, which essentially measures his ability to hit for extra basis, is up at .360, while his wRC+ is at 235. He’s only striking out about 10 percent of the time, easily the best strikeout percentage of his career. Every single one of those figures is absolutely astronomical. Of course, every single one of those numbers is also unsustainable.
His splits give a pretty good indication of that. Much of what Tulo has managed to do to this point has been due to the fact that he plays his home games at Coors Field. He’s slashing .608/.677/1.098/1.775 and going for a .490 ISO at home. He’s absolutely murdering the ball when the Rockies sport their white uniforms. On the road, though, his average dips to just .250 and his on-base percentage is nearly cut in half. Of course, his BABIP while on the road is only .245 as well.
Even so, Tulo is eventually going to see those numbers droop a bit at home, especially because a .407 BABIP overall isn’t likely to be sustainable to begin with, but one that’s .595 is absolutely going to drop at least a couple hundred points over the course of the next several months. Those numbers are going to even out when he cools off overall, along with his road numbers.
Regardless, that shouldn’t take away from what Troy Tulowitzki has done early on in the season. After all, home or away, he’s hitting an absurd .435 with runners in scoring position. Even when those numbers do level themselves out, Tulowitzki is still going to be in position to potentially grab a National League MVP award. He’s an elite player. If the Rockies remain in contention, it’s his to lose.
To expect him to continue this sort of start, though, considering his splits and his recent injury history is simply unreasonable.