As you’ve probably heard, the Colorado Rockies have gotten hot lately, surging to a 37-34 record after starting the year as one of the worst teams in baseball. New manager Jim Tracy has been given a significant amount of the credit, as the team started winning right after he took over from Clint Hurdle, but there’s one really obvious reason why the Rockies are winning that has nothing to do with Jim Tracy – Troy Tulowitzki has been the best hitter in baseball this month.
After some pedestrian performances in April and May on the heels of a 2008 season that was one long struggle, questions about TT’s ability to hit began to gain momentum. Was he just a product of Coors Field? A flash in the pan who peaked early? A good glove that can only hit mistake pitches?
No, no, and no. After hitting two more home runs last night, Tulowitzki is hitting .373/.466/.797 in June, and only Albert Pujols has hit more home runs this month. His .508 wOBA since the end of May is the best in baseball. When you’re getting this much offense from the shortstop position, it’s going to make it pretty easy to put runs on the board and win some ballgames.
Tulowitzki has raised his entire offensive game this year. His walk rate is up to 13.8%, well above his previous career high of 9.4%, thanks to a more patient approach that has him swinging at less pitches out of the strike zone. Despite shifting to a more walks-and-power offensive attack, his contact rate is actually at a career high as well. That’s an impressive combination.
Despite a slow start, Tulowitzki has already racked up a +1.7 win value for the season, and is re-establishing himself as one of the better players in the game. His success in June is the main reason that Colorado has turned the corner and started playing well. Sorry, Jim Tracy, but at least you get to go along for the ride.
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