PITTSBURGH — Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and the Rockies look forward with Friday night’s second-half opener, hoping for a stunning comeback from a rough first half. But it’s a good time to look back at an impressive All-Star break for Tulowitzki.
With the Rockies at 40-55, being in Minneapolis with the game’s stars gave media from coast to coast a chance to question Tulowitzki whether he was willing to keep believing in the Rockies or force a trade. Tulowitzki held to his statement that it’s unlikely anything would happen before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, and if there isn’t a turnaround, he would talk to the Rockies at season’s end.
He gave everyone a little something. If you want to believe he deep down wants to replace role model Derek Jeter with the Yankees, you could piece that together. If you believe he’s going to follow the path of the Cardinals’ Matt Holliday and work his way to a traditional contending market, it was there. If you believe that he wants to stay with the Rockies for the long haul, as long as they don’t go into full rebuilding mode, there was plenty of fuel.
Here’s a look at some of Tulowitkzi’s issues and answers of All-Star Weekend:
On handling the questions: “It’s easy for me, because I go out there and prepare in a similar way no matter who I am playing for. I want to do the same thing, so I won’t really care about the questions. If what’s ever on my table that day, that’s what I’m going to attend to.”
In response to a New York Post mention of a shortstop opening with the Yankees in 2014: “No doubt, I think everybody knows that. Everybody wants that perfect story, whoever it may be. Whether it’s me or somebody else who took over for Derek, no doubt, it makes for a great story.
“But right now it’s just talk until it gets closer to happening in the offseason. I think I’m not going to comment on that further. I think it’s one of those things [where] right now, I’m just about the second half of the season.”
To a St. Louis Post-Dispatch question about his relationship with Holliday, whom the Rockies traded to the Athletics (who later sent him to the Cards) when he didn’t commit long term: One of the things I enjoy is that I not only look up to him as a baseball player, but also as a person. He has taught me how to be a better father and just someone who tries to make the right decisions. I owe a lot to him.
“We have had a lot of similarities. We played in the same organization, obviously. But it’s different, with him having to leave. I have talked to him, but at the same time, I signed up with the Rockies longer than he had ever done. So we are in different situations. I think he understands that. More than anything, we talk about the game of baseball, not so much trade rumors and things like that.”
On his patience level after seeing the Rockies struggle since making the playoffs in 2007 and ’09: “Yeah, I got a reminder from my dad. We were both big Miami Dolphins fans and Dan Marnio made it to the Super Bowl his rookie year and I remember by dad saying, “You see this right here? That is one of the best quarterbacks ever and the only time he made it to the Super Bowl was in his rookie year.” So he tried to compare it to me making the World Series my rookie year, and sure enough, eight or nine years later we haven’t made it back and that gave me a reminder of how special that time was. So I never took it for granted.”
On whether a big market can bring happiness: “For me, it’s not about the market I’m in, it’s about winning. It’s about wherever I get the best chance to win. Hopefully that is in Colorado, but if they feel like they have to go in a different direction and get young and that’s where the organization is headed, then they will have to sit me down to talk about that. I would talk with them in the offseason.”
MINNEAPOLIS — Hitting third in the All-Star Game is both an honor and a burden, but one Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki embraces.
“Not too many guys can say they hit third for an all-star team,” Tulo said Tuesday, about three hours before the 85th All-Star Game at Target Field. “No doubt it’s cool, but if you are hitting third, the lineup is depending on you, so hopefully I get some good at-bats. Maybe I get some runners in scoring position and I make the most of it.”
This is the fourth time Tulowitzki has been selected to the All-Star Game, but only the third time he’ll play in the game. He was inactive in 2010 because of a broken wrist.
He’s approaching No. 4 with a cooler head.
“My first couple of All-Star Games, I was running around with my head cut off until 5 minutes until the national anthem started,” he said. “Now I understand a little better what I need to do to prepare. I’m giving myself enough time to go out there and prepare.”
Derby day. Tulo didn’t far particularly well in Monday night’s Home Run Derby, getting bumped out in the second round by Cincinnati’s Todd Frazier. He hit a total of six home runs.
Still, Tulo, who captained the NL squad, had a fantastic night.
“Whenever I think about the Home Run Derby, I think about my time as a kid, watching it on TV,” he said. “To have a chance to participate in it was something special. Obviously, competitive side would have liked to have done better, but at the same time, I enjoyed it and it was something I will always remember.”
Source: The Denver Post
Posted by Jen on Jun 18th, 2014 • News
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And now for some unfortunate news for the rest of the National League:
Troy Tulowitzki, a superstar on a career-year path, is not done improving. Not the player he still imagines he can be, not content with being what most already consider the best all-around shortstop in baseball.
Tulowitzki is currently hurting baseballs all over the country. He went into Tuesday’s game against the Dodgers leading the NL in batting average (.355), runs (55), slugging (.662) and on-base (.447) percentages, and is second in home runs (18) and third in runs batted in (45).
Think of it as a mere warmup.
“I feel I’m not a finished product,” Tulowitzki said. “I still have room to improve and get better. I’m not satisfied. I’m always trying to work to be a better player.”
It might be best to take what he says seriously. This was a kid who grew up in the Silicon Valley region with posters of Derek Jeter, Nomar Garciaparra and Alex Rodriguez on his bedroom wall, dreaming of being a big league shortstop.
And then went undrafted out of high school.
He went to Long Beach State — “The best thing to ever happen to me” — continued to work hard, reinvented himself in the eyes of scouts and three years later was a first-round pick of the Rockies.
“That tells you a lot about his mentality,” Colorado Manager Walt Weiss said. “I could see it if a pitcher adds three or four inches and all of a sudden he’s throwing 95. But with a position player to not be drafted out of high school as a shortstop? And then to be a first-round pick three years later? You can read between the lines there.”
There’s been no stopping Tulowitzki since, unless you count injuries. He’s been a sensation since his rookie season, when he started on Colorado’s 2007 World Series team.
Despite injuries that have starters Carlos Gonzalez, Nolan Arenado and Michael Cuddyer on the disabled list, along with three-fifths of the Colorado rotation (Jordan Lyles, Tyler Chatwood, Brett Anderson), Tulowitzki’s play has helped the Rockies hang around the NL West. They were only three games back of the Dodgers before Tuesday.
“It’s been tough as far as injuries,” he said. “But we’re trying to hang in there until these guys get back. And then hopefully we’ll go on a roll.”
If it happens, it probably will be led by the 6-foot-3, 215-pound Tulowitzki. Most shortstops his size are encouraged to find a new position. It’s assumed they’re too big to cover the required ground, not athletic enough to make the needed plays.
Weiss was a 6-foot, 175-pound shortstop who played in the majors for 14 years.
“The way he moves around with that body is uncanny,” Weiss said. “You don’t see a shortstop that size, moving around like that. I mean, he moves around like we did in the day of the 5-11 and 170-pound shortstops. He moves like that at 6-3, 215.
“And he’s one of the best hitters in all of baseball.”
Dodgers third base coach Lorenzo Bundy, who has known Tulowitzki for years, gave him the ultimate compliment.
“If I wasn’t in this game, he’s one of the few players I would pay to watch play,” Bundy said.
Former Dodgers infielder Eric Young, now a coach with the Rockies, said Tulowitzki’s play is not simply some gift from the baseball heavens.
“The most impressive thing to know about Troy is, he’s the hardest-working player on this team,” Young said. “Without a doubt. Every day. He does not miss his routine. He’s one of the first to the ballpark — every day. He takes care of his body, eats well, does everything he needs to do every day to be the best player in the game — period.”
Tulowitzki is 29 and in the prime of his career. He became a father for the first time in the off-season. He currently leads all NL players in the All-Star voting. Life is good, it’s just that he wants more.
“He’s one of the most driven players I’ve ever been around,” Weiss said. “And I’ve been around some of the best of our time. He’s driven to be great and he has a burning desire to win.”
His 10-year, $157.75-million contract takes him through the 2020 season, so he’s not ready to peak.
“This is probably the best I’ve been as far as a complete player,” Tulowitzki said. “But I think I can be better. And when you talk to a good player, I think they all kind of say that same thing.”
Source: LA Times
Posted by Jen on May 28th, 2014 • News
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Major League Baseball has now released its first update of the season on the National League All-Star balloting for the starters in the 2014 Midsummer Classic.
There are several close races and voting continues through 11:59 p.m. ET on July 3, so a few of these races could change.
To cast your own ballot, hop on over to MLB.com
Here are the updated tallies by position (click here for full MLB PR release).
1. Adrian Gonzalez, Dodgers; 349,762
2. Freddie Freeman, Braves; 308,961
3. Justin Morneau, Rockies; 305,327
1. Chase Utley, Phillies; 509,390
2. Dee Gordon, Dodgers; 304,258
3. Brandon Phillips, Reds; 187,067
1. Nolan Arenado, Rockies; 318,111
2. Aramis Ramirez, Brewers; 282,843
3. David Wright, Mets; 278,425
1. Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies; 745,823
2. Brandon Crawford, Giants; 218,123
3. Andrelton Simmons, Braves; 207,402
1. Yadier Molina, Cardinals; 640,464
2. Buster Posey, Giants: 421,100
3. Evan Gattis, Braves; 241,005
1. Charlie Blackmon, Rockies; 549,394
2. Andrew McCutchen, Pirates; 467,378
3. Ryan Braun, Brewers; 446,780
4. Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins; 426,228
5. Yasiel Puig, Dodgers; 383,384
6. Carlos Gomez, Brewers; 370,630
The NL will also have a designated hitter, but that will be named by the manager, Cardinals skipper Mike Matheny. So as things stood now, the starters would be Gonzalez, Utley, Arenado (who may still be injured by the time the game is played), Tulowitzki, Molina, Blackmon, McCutchen and Braun along with Matheny’s choice for DH.
Again, though, there’s lots of time still remaining to cast those ballots.
Source: CBS Sports
Posted by Jen on May 23rd, 2014 • News
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Troy Tulowitzki responds to cheating accusations by walking out to Swedish group’s 1992 hit
Major-league baseball fans have had their eyes opened to Swedish pop group Ace of Base. Colorado Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki is off to a torrid start this season, batting an unheard-of .552 average in 19 games at the team’s Coors Field. He’s been so hot, in fact, that Mike Krukow, an announcer for the San Francisco Giants, this week accused the 29-year-old of stealing opposing teams’ signs.
Tulo’s response in the Rockies’ game yesterday (May 22) against the Giants was priceless. According to MLB.com, he used Ace of Base’s global 1992 smash “The Sign,” with its instantly catchy “I saw the sign” lyrical refrain, as his at-bat walk-up music. If we just got the song stuck in your head, you’re welcome.
It’s not the first creative use of a decades-old song by a baseball player this season: The Oakland A’s outfielder Josh Reddick famously comes out to George Michaels’ “Careless Whisper,” which has enough gooey saxophone for closing time in China. But Tulowitzki’s move is still an awesome display of chutzpah, and it definitely gets the point across better than some of our other relevant favorites, such as Prince’s “Sign ‘O’ the Times” or the blues staple “Born Under a Bad Sign.” (Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours” might be better for autograph events.)
And hey, Tulo can always use Tesla/Five Man Electrical Band’s “Signs” when the Rockies meet the Giants again to make up Thursday’s game, which was suspended on account of rain and the threat of tornadoes. That’s right, tornadoes. Like hammer-wielding (or at least hook-wielding) Scandinavian gods, never undestimate the power of Ace of Base.
Posted by Jen on May 11th, 2014 • News
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Troy Tulowitzki has blown up. The All-Star is healthy and he’s back in full force. As amazing as his monstrous start has been, there’s someone overshadowing his .407/9/31 and that’s Nolan Arenado. The second-year third basemen appears to be blossoming into the player the Colorado Rockies organization expected. Setting the Colorado Rockies record for most consecutive games with a hit, 28 games, is just one reason you should be watching the Rockies right now.
The most explosive offense in baseball has bolstered the Rockies to a 22-15 record and they continue to nip at the heels of NL West leading San Francisco. Nolan Arenado, is just 23 years old and yet his offensive game is maturing right before our eyes. Known mostly for his wizardry at third-base, Nolan Arenado is hitting .322 with a team leading 12 doubles. During the streak, which broke the record held by fellow Rockie Michael Cuddyer, a 27-gamer from 2013, Arenado has hit .364 with 11 of his 12 doubles, four home runs, and 19 RBI.
While Arenado looks to push his streak into the thirties, Troy Tulowitzki is doing what a healthy Troy Tulowitzki should be do. Having already established himself as one of the best hitters in the game, Tulo’s 2014 start is the best of notable big-league career.
Perhaps Tulo has matured. After all, he his walking more and striking out less. Or is it that the presence of Carlos Gonzalez, the breakout of Nolan Arenado, and the always steady Michael Cuddyer have taken the pressure off Tulo. No longer does he need to be the only guy. No longer pressing, Tulo is not just looking for any pitch to hit, he’s looking for his pitch.
As a result, Troy Tulowitzki is pounding the ball. For opposing pitchers, there can’t be a lineup more intimidating than the Colorado Rockies right now. Of the six Rockies who have had more than 100 at-bats this season, four are hitting above .300. Led by Tulo and Arenado, the Rockies continue to light up scoreboards across the league.
Yes, Colorado is notorious for hot starts. But baseball continues to be the sport where randomness is the norm, and no one saw this kind of start for the Colorado Rockies or Tulo and Arenado. One thing is for certain, Rockies fans are being spoiled. Watching the future of the franchise blossom like Arenado is nothing short of exciting. Witnessing Troy Tulowitzki on an unprecedented tear is the sugar on top.
Something is happening in Colorado. Who can say how long it will last? All I know is if you’re not watching the Colorado Rockies right now, you’re missing out. As for baseball, there’s a “Tulo-nado” warning being issued throughout the league, and all opposing pitchers should be alarmed.
Source: iSports Web
Posted by Jen on May 8th, 2014 • News
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Rockies shortstop leads league with remarkable .421 batting average and .522 on-base percentage.
After three more hits on Tuesday night, Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki is now batting .421 on the season with a .522 on-base percentage and a .794 slugging — all of which lead the Majors. Through his first 32 games, Tulowitzki’s off to the best start of his excellent big-league career.
I’ve sung this song before: Early season baseball stats often isolate odd blips and make them seem more meaningful than they actually are. And so when a player enjoys a stretch as good as Tulo’s early in the season, I instinctively start poking around baseball-reference.com’s game logs to see if there’s any precedent.
Tulowitzki, after all, is a great hitter. And if he’s hit this well over any similarly long stretch of his career before, it could indicate that his special start to the season is more an embodiment of the randomness that dominates baseball than some real improvement.
As it turns out, Tulowitzki — for as good as he has been — has never had 32 games quite like these before. He’s had several stretches where he’s been nearly as good for about as long, like when he hit .404 with a .472 OBP and a .743 slugging from July 19 to Aug. 27 of 2011. And he had an incredible run over a much shorter timeframe late in the 2010 season, when he hit 14 homers in 16 games from Sept. 2 through Sept. 18.
But Tulowitzki’s early-season outburst represents, by almost any measure, the best 32-game stretch he has ever had. So what’s happening?
Tulo has been walking more and striking out less than he typically does, both promising signs. But looking at his plate discipline stats, it’s not clear that he’s chasing fewer pitches out of the zone or swinging and missing way less than he normally does. More than anything, it appears he’s getting fewer pitches to hit than usual, and remaining customarily patient — leading to more walks.
He’s certainly benefiting from some good luck, as would be expected of anyone maintaining a .422 batting average. Tulowitzki’s .419 batting average on balls in play is 99 points higher than his career norm, and likely to regress as the season continues.
But that rate, not to mention his massive ratio of homers to flyballs, also seems to reflect the way Tulowitzki is simply crushing the ball. His 27.4-percent line drive rate is by far the best of his career, and he’s popping out only about half as frequently as usual.
Of course, given the calendar it’s important not to jump to any conclusions — especially considering the unique home-field hitting environment in which the shortstop has flourished this season.
Tulowitzki has played his entire career after the Rockies began storing baseballs in a humidor to mitigate the effects of Denver’s dry air. And through the season’s first five weeks, the team is posting the type of gaudy offensive numbers it did in the late 1990s.
Of course, Tulowitzki’s responsible for a lot of that on his own. Maybe something strange is afoot in Colorado, or maybe the shortstop’s incredible start is merely the confluence of some good luck, good hitting and good health from an exceptional player in the prime of his career.
Source: USA Today
Posted by Jen on May 8th, 2014 • News
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Unless your name is Mike Trout, it’s not the easiest of tasks garnering positive attention if you play your home games in the western half of the United States. However, Troy Tulowitzki has stepped up and shown that getting that type of attention is absolutely no issue if you’re off to the type of start that he is. We’re only about to hit the midway point of the month of May, but Tulo is looking like the runaway favorite for the National League Most Valuable Player Award.
It’s been said all over, whether through the mainstream media or in the blogosphere: A healthy Troy Tulowitzki is as good a player as there is in Major League Baseball. It’s that health aspect that has held Tulo back, particularly in the last couple of years, including a 2012 campaign in which he only appeared in 47 games. But early on, the Colorado Rockies are in the middle of a division race in the National League West, with Tulo serving as the primary reason as to how/why.
Tulowitzki’s numbers, even early on, are absolutely absurd. He’s slashing .421/.522/.794/1.317 and has gone for a .374 ISO and a 242 wRC+. His strikeout rate is much lower than his career average, and his walk rate, up over 17 percent, is higher. His .419 BABIP certainly helps too. All of those numbers paint an incredible picture for his start, but those last two are absolutely stellar. Of course, they’ll come down as the sample size becomes larger.
A large part of what has made Tulowitzki so successful is playing his home games at Coors Field. He’s asserted his dominance at home in an absolutely ridiculous fashion to this point. He’s hitting .608 at Coors, and reaching base overall at a .677 clip. Even more ridiculous, he’s 18 for his last 21 with runners on base. He’s hitting .561 on the season with runners on overall, and .545 when they’re in scoring position.
Obviously those numbers are going to see a decline as the season wears on. Not only is it unreasonable to expect it, the fact that his road numbers leave a bit to be desired should help to level the playing field quite a bit. After all, he’s “only” OPSing .895 away from Coors Field.
Tulo’s WAR on the season is already at 3.3, setting him up to shatter the career mark he’s set in that department, which was a 5.9 back in 2010. He’s doing it with the bat and the glove as well, adding elite defense at a premium defensive position to the equation. His UZR per 150 innings is nearly 22 at this point.
Plain and simple, Troy Tulowitzki is just on another planet right now. He’s doing crazy things at the plate, and dazzling us with the glove. As long as he remains healthy, a tall order for him to fill given the last few seasons, he’s absolutely going to be in the mix for the MVP Award. If he maintains anywhere near this pace while staying off the disabled list, he’s going to sprint away with it.
Posted by Jen on Apr 30th, 2014 • News
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April stats are often dangerous in their duplicity, treacherous in their trickery. At times, though, they’ve proven eerily instructive, too.
That’s why we like to take a moment each year at the end of April to make mention of some of the more noteworthy numbers the first month has brought us. These are just a few of the odd, alarming, amazing or otherwise interesting stats that caught our eye. Feel free to add your own in the comments.
All stats are through Tuesday’s play.
5: Number of American League East teams with a negative run differential.
4: Number of AL Central teams with a positive run differential (sorry, Cleveland).
2-15: The D-backs’ home record.
1-5: The Dodgers’ record in extra-innings games.
13-7: The Dodgers’ record in all other games.
12.0: At-bats per home run for Pujols this year.
10: Home runs for Jose Abreu. He’s on pace to become just the 12th rookie (and the first since Pujols) to hit 30 homers and drive in 100.
11: Home runs for the entire Royals team. No club in the Wild Card era has had a homer rate as low as Kansas City does now and has gone on to make the playoffs.
1: “Tonight Show” appearances for Robinson Cano.
1: Home runs for Cano. He has an .049 isolated power mark and a .366 slugging percentage at Safeco Field.
27: RBIs for the Twins’ Chris Colabello, the 30-year-old undrafted outfielder signed by Minnesota out of independent ball two years ago.
.379: National League-best batting average for Charlie Blackmon, who went 6-for-6 on April 4.
.753: Troy Tulowitzki’s slugging percentage, best in baseball by more than 100 points.
1.6: Home runs per nine innings given up last year by Aaron Harang, an extreme fly-ball pitcher.
1.90: Atlanta’s rotation ERA, after losing Kris Medlen, Brandon Beachy and Mike Minor to injury.
6.04: Minnesota’s rotation ERA, after gaining Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes in free agency.
.136 The opposition’s batting average off Johnny Cueto.
16.2: Percentage of the season that has been played, making it quite possible all of the above will be rendered moot.
But thanks for reading, anyway.
Read the full list at MLB.com
Posted by Jen on Mar 25th, 2014 • News
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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — During his first at-bat on Monday against the Royals, Troy Tulowitzki reminded Rockies fans why they should be glad ownership didn’t take a trade offer from the Cardinals during the winter.
Tulowitzki pulled a Jeremy Guthrie pitch over the left-field fence for his third home run this spring. Tulowitzki has hit 154 homers since his rookie year of 2007 — most of any shortstop in the Majors — and is one of six shortstops in history with at least four seasons of 25 or more homers. Despite missing 25 games with a broken rib last year, he hit 25.
Talks with the Cardinals were rumored all winter, so it was no surprise during the weekend when FOX Sports reported that the Rockies turned down an offer of right-handed pitcher Shelby Miller, first baseman Matt Adams and shortstop Pete Kozma for Tulowitzki. The Rockies have not commented on the report.
During the winter, Tulowitzki followed it all.
“I wasn’t aware of any offer that was talked about, but I know there was some interest from the Cardinals, but things didn’t work out, obviously,” Tulowitzki said. “I’m a baseball fan, so I do read the paper and I know what’s going on in the world. But I don’t put too much thought into, ‘What if this thing goes down?’ If it happens, it happens, and if not then I’m in this locker room trying to win games for the Rockies right now. That trade talk doesn’t do much. It’s just rumors.”
Tulowitzki is owed $134 million through 2020, but realizes he could be on the move if the Rockies don’t start winning. Tulowitzki also wants to win. So there’s one way to stop the rumors.
“Since Day One, the most important thing for me has been winning,” Tulowitzki said. “I got a taste of it early in my career [a World Series trip in 2007, playoffs in 2009] and it was a lot of fun. I’ve been a part of some losing seasons now, and no matter how you come out of it individually, it’s worth nothing because I’ve had so much more fun in those years we’ve won.”
Tulowitzki has always been honest, and at times outspoken, about what he feels the club needs and its direction, even if it’s uncomfortable at times for the club. He explained that it’s not because he believes his paycheck makes him something more than a player. It’s just burning desire for a result.
“Money is not what drives me — it’s winning, and guys get paid because they want to keep guys on those winning teams,” Tulowitzki said. “I’m a very opinionated person, there’s no doubt about that.
“That’s just the way I am. But I’d rather go out trying to help things and not be that silent guy in the corner of the room not saying anything. Hopefully people listen.”