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Starting A Franchise From Scratch: Give Me Tulo

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NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 24: Troy Tulowitzki # 2 of the Colorado Rockies connects on a fifth inning home run against the New York Yankees on June 24, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 24: Troy Tulowitzki # 2 of the Colorado Rockies connects on a fifth inning home run against the New York Yankees on June 24, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
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When Brandon C. thought of the idea of a staff-wide series about who we would start a franchise with, my pick was a no brainer. If I was starting my own franchise and I was able to select any player from all 30 teams, Troy Tulowitzki would be my number one choice, and I wouldn't think twice.

Maybe it's because I played shortstop throughout my own playing career, but for whatever reason, there is something that makes me appreciate the way a shortstop plays the game. Thinking about it further, it's probably because I was spoiled growing up, watching Derek Jeter take the field for my favorite team all summer long.

It's hard not to like Tulo. He can hit, he can field, he's young, he's an All-Star, he's had thee top-10 finishes in the MVP voting, and you've never heard a bad thing said about him. He's even a Derek Jeter fan.

You get the picture.

Here are my reasons for selecting Tulowitzki:

  • He only just turned 27 years old in October.
  • In five full seasons, Tulo has averaged 5.0 WAR per year. Removing 2008, when he was plagued with injuries, makes him a 6-WAR player on average per season.
  • With 18.4 fWAR since 2009, he has been the best shortstop in baseball, and the sixth best player in all of baseball.
  • He is an elite defender at shortstop, arguably the most important position on the field. Both UZR and DRS have given him positive ratings throughout his career.
  • Over the last three seasons, his wOBA has never been lower than .389, while topping out at .408. Also, his average triple slash over the last three years is .304/.376/.554, with a 134 OPS+.
  • His strikeout rate has dropped from 17.8% in 2009 to just 13% in 2011. During the same time frame, his power has remained consistent - .256 ISO in 2009, .253 in 2010, .242 in 2011.
  • He has fantastic leadership skills and is a great teammate. Says one NL scouting director: "Tulo for me brings Ripken-type dependability. He's a galvanizer. He brings the club together." Says Steve Phillips: "Tulowitzki seems to have that special leadership gene. He's a guy who can pull people along with him."
  • What more could you want?

    Statistics from the Troy Tulowitzki pages on fangraphs and Baseball-Reference.