Key Stats: A player that had a high ADP last season is under the category of Travis Hafner or J.J. Putz. Injury, age, and change in role are factors in moving down. Troy Tulowitzki has none of this working against him. He proved he was healthy in August and September and is just 24.
In 2007 Tulo was a ridiculous Ryan Braun season from being named Rookie of the Year. I went back over the past 15 seasons to see how every hitter who finished in the top 3 in ROY voting has done in year 2 and in future seasons. In year 2, only 20 of the 52 hitters (Ichiro and Hideki Matsui were not included) in the sample had better seasons than their rookie years. On the whole 14 of the 52 players went on to call their rookie season their career year (this list includes Braun, Ryan Zimmerman, Hunter Pence and Tulo – all of whom are not at their prime).
In other words, Tulo’s sophomore slump was relatively normal and the odds are that he will still have good seasons ahead.
Skeptics Say: Tulo did hit .166 in the first half of last season. In both of his seasons in baseball Tulo has started much slower than he has finished. The power was way down even in his better second half. He hit only 1 home run every 45 at bats after the All-Star break in 2008, compared to one every 25 at bats throughout 2007.
Peer Comparison: If you look at the second seasons for Garrett Anderson, Jimmy Rollins and Carlos Beltran (all finished in the top 3 in ROY voting) the story is eerily similar to Tulo particularly in batting average.
Goose Joak mentioned the more recent memory of Jhonny Peralta being a big disappointment in 2006 after a terrific first full season. Here’s a rookie season comparison of Tulo and Peralta:
Tulo 24 HR 33 Doubles 57 BB .291 AVG
Peralta 24 HR 35 Doubles 56 BB .292 AVG
In year two, Peralta saw his home run total virtually cut in half. Tulo was injured, but his home run rate was basically cut in half. Both players also had their averages go down.
Peralta would increase all five of the 5×5 category stats in year three.
Lineup Outlook: With Matt Holliday gone, the Rockies lineup is weaker. Yet there is a sleeper in Ian Stewart who will continue to get better and perhaps Tulo can move to the coveted number three spot in the order and allow the Rockies to leave Todd Helton (loyalty), Garrett Atkins and Brad Hawpe where they are. Holliday’s departure might not hurt Tulo all that much.
Projection: Considering he hit better on the road last season, all signs point to a much stronger 2009.
95R 27 HR 97 RBI 4 SB .290 AVG .845 OPS
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