He is the best shortstop in baseball. Yet because Troy Tulowitzki was hurt for much of 2012, and that the team he plays for, the Colorado Rockies, had a dreadful 2012 season, many fans think he fell off the face of the Earth. A torn groin limited Tulo to 47 games, not playing a single contest after May 30th. Colorado went on to lose a franchise-record 98 games last season and maybe because he was gone before the calendar turned to June is why he seemed so forgotten. MLB Network recently came out with its list of Top 10 shortstops and at the top of it was the Rox’s 2005 first round pick. If 2013 is anything like most of his other campaigns, he will once again become one of the most recognized players in the game.
Tulowitzki is without a doubt the face of the Rockies. In December 2010, he signed an extension worth $134 million dollars with the team that locks him up until 2020 with a club option for 2021. After appearing in 25 games for the Rockies in 2006, Tulo enjoyed a banner first full season in the Majors in 2007 with 24 home runs and 99 RBI’s finishing second in the National League Rookie of the Year voting to Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers. It was also the year that Colorado made its first and only World Series appearance in the 20 years they have been in existence. Tulo slumped mightily the following season with only eight homers and 46 runs batted as two injuries limited him to 101 games, a huge reason why the Rox dropped to a 74-88 record. Both the team and the player rebounded in 2009 as Colorado post an organizational-high 92 victories and third overall playoff appearance, securing the NL Wild Card. Tulowitzki finished fifth in the NL MVP race by socking 32 long balls and knocking in 95 runs and stole 20 bases. He went on to enjoy two straight All-Star seasons in 2010 and 2011 solidifying his place as the best at his position. Both seasons he won a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger as well as finishing in the Top 10 in the race for the MVP. He cracked the 100 RBI barrier for the first time in 2011 but his team ended the season with a dismal 73-89 record. 2012 was a nightmare on and off the field for Tulo as he started to hear questions about his leadership, his injuries and rumors of the St. Louis Cardinals looking to trade for him. Colorado owner Dick Monfort said multiple times this past Winter that his star shortstop wasn’t going anywhere.
So far, so good this Spring Training for Troy Tulowitzki. At 28, he should be entering the prime of his career. His cannon arm and potent bat still have too much life to be on the downside. Because of offseason leg surgery, he arrives early at the team’s facility in Arizona to get treatment and stays late for additional stretching. Also, according to the Denver Post, new manager Walt Weiss told the player he will be getting planned days off during the season. The team wants to have him healthy from April to October as they will have an uphill battle in the rough NL West. In order for the team to contend, Tulo will have to play 140 games this season and ease the burden that fell on the shoulders of star left fielder Carlos Gonzalez. The NL Comeback Player of the Year Award will stay in the NL West in 2013 as Troy Tulowitzki will regain his All-Star form and remind everyone that he is the best shortstop in the game today.
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