Troy Tulowitzki has been in the news lately because of his desire to be traded away from Colorado (and then his desire not to be), but less publicized is the fact that he’s also in the midst of one of the least productive offensive stretches of his career. His above average walk/low strikeout plate approach has done a 180 this year, with the Rockies shortstop currently posting a career-low walk rate and career-high strikeout rate. With the trade rumors continuing to swirl, we have to wonder: what’s going on with Tulo?
Since first being promoted to the major leagues in 2006, Tulowitzki has shown one of the best all-around toolsets at the shortstop position: he’s hit for power, he’s walked at an above average rate, and he’s limited his strikeouts. Those abilities, combined with great defense, have made him one of the best players in baseball when healthy. Following another season that hinted at what could be if he was able to stay on the field, his numbers have been less than stellar in 2015. In addition to a conspicuous lack of home run power, other parts of his game have fallen off. To start with, let’s take a look at his career walk and strikeout rates compared to league average, updated with this season’s numbers:
As we can see, a slight uptick in strikeout rate might not be terribly worrisome, given the fact that we only have just over a month and a half of the season under our belt. However, the almost total cratering of Tulowitzki’s walk rate is concerning: after a career built on walking at an above average clip, he now has the 7th-lowest walk rate in the majors among qualified hitters. It’s unusual to see such a drastic decrease in walk rate among an established player, and it requires some attention.