Throughout the doom and gloom of 2011 (and there was quite a bit of both), there was a consistent example of what 2011 was supposed to be in the form of Troy Tulowitzki.
After producing a Herculean September in 2010 (15 HRs, 40 RBI) on his way to a 5th place MVP finish, winning some well-deserved hardware (Gold Glove and Silver Slugger), as well as receiving a mammoth 7 year, $134 million extension to his existing contract, Troy Tulowitzki had some gigantic expectations to meet in 2011.
A notorious slow starter, Tulo sprinted out of the gates in 2011, smashing the ball in April to the tune of .298/.385/.617 with 7 HR and 17 RBI (178 sOPS+). In the last month in 2011 that the Rockies were a joy to watch, Tulo shone brightest. And the crazy part was, Tulowitzki had two months in 2011 at the plate that were even better than April.
Like everyone else on the roster, Tulo had a dismal May (.209/.269/.364, 77 sOPS+), but he rebounded with a good June and was voted in as the NL starter at shortstop in the All-Star Game with a .268/.337/.488 line. I firmly believe that he'll be a fixture in that position for at least the next five years.
Tulowitzki's 1st half numbers might have been a little light for an All-Star starter, but he really turned it on in the 2nd half. A great July (.352/.404/.615, 5 HR, 180 sOPS+) was followed by a spectacular August (.356/.438/.673, 8 HR, 197 sOPS+) before his September was abbreviated by a nagging hip injury to only 11 games and 40 PAs. Still, his 2nd half line was certainly a MVP-type performance (.356/.426/.634, 13 HR, 48 RBI in 54 games, 187 sOPS+). If the Rockies get more of that 2nd half Tulo in 2012, they'll be very much on pace to take a winnable NL West.
In all, Tulowitzki's 2011 season line looks pretty similar to his 2010 -- a few more HR (30 to 27), a few less steals (11 to 20), but about the same production (.302/.372/.544 vs.315/.381/.568, 6.3 fWAR vs. 6.5 fWAR) and postseason accolades (8th place MVP vs. 5th, but both seasons garnered Gold Gloves and Silver Sluggers). I can only hope that 2012 brings more of the same.
The conclusion to the 2011 Rockies Player Review series after the jump.Rating: A
In my mind, Tulo was the Rockies' only player who truly deserved an A for 2011. He excelled at every facet of the game except base-running and he was a constant bright spot in what was, for all accounts, a dismal 2011 campaign.
2012: I think that 2012 will be the year 2011 was intended to be -- Tulo and CarGo will reign as titans of the NL, swatting homers and firing lasers at a prolific rate...and this time, they will have a better supporting cast. On Fangraphs, expectations for Tulo's 2012 season have reached the stratosphere -- fan projections have him at 7.6 fWAR, which is a MVP season.
With that, the 2011 Player Reviews (all 36 of them) are in the books -- and now there's only about 26 days between now and the beginning of the 2012 baseball cycle.