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Wednesday Rockpile: Troy Tulowitzki's Health Key To Colorado's Success

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One of the reasons that Troy Tulowitzki has been such a valuable player for the Rockies is that he plays the game so hard. It's also a big reason why he's been injured so often.


In September 2010, Troy Tulowitzki had the best month I've ever seen from an offensive player in terms of power, hitting .303/.366/.754 and smacking 15 homers in 30 games. He's a career .292/.364/.504 hitter and a two-time Gold Glove shortstop. Unquestionably Tulowitzki is the Colorado Rockies' best player when healthy, a 5-6 win shortstop who is arguably the majors' best combination of offensive and defensive value.

That's the kind of hard-hitting analysis you come to this site for.

Unfortunately, he hasn't always been healthy. Tulo's injuries have been self-inflicted (cutting his hand on a smashed bat) and pitcher inflicted (broken bone on HBP), but there's definitely been a legitimate injury history with his legs - torn quad in 2008, groin injury last year. Again, hard-hitting analysis.

That's why it was such a good sign to read about Tulo's hard stop rounding third base in yesterday's game, showing that his leg had healed well. It's no secret that Tulowitzki along with fellow star Carlos Gonzalez plays the game at full speed, which provides benefits to the team in terms of spectacular defensive plays and taking the extra base but also increases the injury risk to its star players, which is a far bigger concern to the Rockies.

I know that it's difficult for the Rockies to tell their star players to dial it back a bit, but Colorado's star power at shortstop is probably their best competitive advantage. In order to keep that advantage, it's the far lesser evil to have Tulo (and Cargo) take their foot off the gas pedal to retain their health and effectiveness late into the season.

I understand that they are not delicate flowers - they are professional baseball players and world class athletes - but all bodies break down eventually, especially under the daily grind of playing 162 games in 181 days. It's up to the Rockies to minimize the risk of one of their players suffering an injury that significantly impacts their performance because, especially in the case of Tulo and Cargo, these are the kind of injuries that lead to a 64-98 season.

News and Notes

In other Rockies news, Jhoulys Chacin, fresh off a disappointing WBC for team Venezuela, dominated in yesterday's game. Okay, so it was a simulated game against Rockies prospects, but Chacin is likely to be the Rockies' best pitcher in 2013, so at least he's proved he can beat minor leaguers.

5th starter candidate Tyler Chatwood did himself a few favors with his groundball heavy effort yesterday - not that I think he has much of a shot to be a starter given the competition from Drew Pomeranz in particular.

In prospect news, Jon Sickels of Minor League Ball has his top 150 prospect list out, with four Rockies minor leaguers making the cut. Trevor Story heads the contingent at 47, followed by Nolan Arenado (53), David Dahl (69), and Kyle Parker (83), with Corey Dickerson making Honorable mention.

Sickels states in his methodology that he values proximity to the big leagues a little more, which explains why Dahl is rated lower here than elsewhere, while Parker gets a nice bump from where he's normally rated.

News flash. Spring training statistics are meaningless.

Finally, take a look at this free Baseball Prospectus article on taking sabermetric principles and applying them to baseball marketing.