We like it when our heroes succeed. Things wouldn’t be nearly as fun if Superman got toppled by Lex Luthor on a regular basis or the Joker kept Batman at bay. They make us feel good. Give us a sense of hope, if you will. Good verses Evil is the backbone of millions of stories the world over. Two of our shortstopping heroes have taken on evil (luck and the Baseball Gods) and are currently punching its face in.
Seeing Troy Tulowitzki’s name atop the shortstop rankings isn’t something new. He’s been one of the best players, let alone shortstops, in baseball the past few years. After a hot April (1.002 OPS) he cooled off considerably in May and June. His OPS those months were just .633 and .876. The May triple slash line of .209/.269/.364 is Jeff Mathisian in its futility. However, that performance can be attributed to a terribly unlucky and unsustainable .196 batting average on balls in play (BABIP). That number rebounded to .319 in June as Tulo started to heat up, hitting .311 though his ISO was just .189. The power has come back in a big way these past two months, as well as everything else.
He’s obliterated opposing pitchers, putting up OPS’s of 1.019 (seventh in baseball) and 1.117 (third) respectively. His ISO over those two months averages out to ~.300, which is just a tick under that of Mike Stanton to provide some context. This is arguably the best two month stretch of baseball he’s ever played. He’s back to being the force of nature we’re accustomed to seeing, and it’s been fantastic to watch.
Derek Jeter is enjoying a fine second half of the season, welcoming his detractors to a heaping serving of crow infused humble pie. The turnaround actually started in July when he hit .292/.347/.449 in 98 plate appearances. This month he’s been amazing, hitting .398/.449/.490 in 110 appearances. That type of thing will happen when you have a .443 BABIP, thanks in large part to a 34.5% line drive rate. That obviously won’t keep up, and he doesn’t hit for power anymore, but he’s turned his season around and snuck his way back into the top 10 shortstops. He’s not what he once was, but for anyone that has played fantasy baseball for an extended period of time it should be nice to see Jeter’s name still among the leaders at the position.