Saturday Rockpile: Despite His Team's Constant Losing, Tulowitzki Keeps on Winning

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 30: Troy Tulowitzki #2 of the Colorado Rockies hits an RBI double during the eighth inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park on July 30, 2011 in San Diego, California. The Rockies won 10-6. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)

The Rockies fell to ten games below .500 last night for the first time this season. For Troy Tulowitzki, it is just the continuation of a season unlike any other that he has had. The only other time in his career the Rockies were this bad, he was in the midst of what was by far his worst season individually. Things are different this time, however, as despite the overall disappointment of his club's place in the standings, Tulo has been one of the best (if not THE best) player in the National League - and quite possibly in all of baseball.

Fangraphs' Paul Swydan echoes that statements, as he has some very nice things to say about the Rockies' star shortstop, and even uses statistics to back those nice things up. Tulowitzki has become one the best players (not just shortstops) in the game by adding superb offensive abilities to what has always been great defensive ability and performance. Tulo's swinging strike percentage (4.2%) is mind-boggling for a hitter with the kind of power that he possesses, and it is a key component in his BB-to-K ratio of 0.87, which is a top 20 mark in MLB.

Swydan, however, does make mention of Tulo's inability to come through in high-leverage situations. He has finished second-worst and sixth-worst in clutch score over the past two seasons, and is in the bottom 25 this year. It's clear that Tulo presses in late/close situations, but that is one area that has proven to be flukish in the past and can certainly be improved upon from year-to-year. And, if there's a guy that can do it, it's likely this guy, who has been an absolute beast in his career otherwise.

After singling in last night's ballgame, Tulowitzki has a hit in each of his last nine starts, and has a slash line of .302/.368/.537 with 23 home runs, putting him on pace to have the best offensive season of his career. And those numbers include the 40-some odd games in which he was in autopilot. He likely won't win an MVP award this year because of Colorado's place in the standings, but if the "V" in MVP indeed stands for valuable - and if value is equivalent to the number of wins a player is worth to his team, Tulo SHOULD be the MVP if the season ended today, as his 6.0 WAR leads all NL players.

Despite his performance in clutch situations, we obviously have a guy that we can really be excited about for years to come. I'm certainly not making a bold statement by saying that.

Links after the jump...

MLB postseason problems revisited - ESPN
Jayson Stark tells us one thing we already knew - that Ian Stewart is a change-of-scenery candidate whom the Rockies are shopping, but they probably won't get anything for him because he'll likely be non-tendered after the season.

He also fills us in on one thing we likely didn't know - that the Rox may give J.C. Romero a shot in their bullpen, which will likely cause even more stress for Colorado fans. Romero, 35, has a career BB/9 rate of 5.18. I thought he was good with the Phillies until I looked at his numbers; he walked EVERYBODY. By definition of the word, he has only had one great season, which came in 2002 with Minnesota. It's the only season in which he struck out at least double the amount of guys he walked. He was pretty good in 2004 as well, but other than that he has been an unpredictable walk machine.

Rockies' Juan Nicasio hopes to return to Coors Monday - The Denver Post
Things appear to be getting better and better for Nicasio, who joked with Jim Tracy that he will be ready to pitch in two weeks. While that obviously isn't happening, Juan appears to be well on the road to recovery

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