Tulo Speaks!: Open To Hitting Lead-off, Excited For The Season (Also Has A New Leg Kick)

tulo-duff-crop

I know, I know, a minute long clip of Troy Tulowitzki chatting with ESPN’s Britt McHenry is maybe not the sort of thing you’re going to drop everything and read about, especially when we’re fully in the grips of Day Two of Jose Bautista Contract Madness and I’ve still yet to address the delicious (and hopefully permanent) falling apart of the Jay-Bruce-for-Michael-Saunders-and-also-inexplicably-a-prospect-even-though-apparently-the-Reds-weren’t-kicking-in-any-money trade.

But hear me out on this.

1) It’s an excuse to once again post this amazing shot of Tulo at the Dufferin Mall back in October, which still totally floors me as a thing that exists and actually happened. (WHAT WAS HE DOING IN THAT NEIGHBOURHOOD?)

2) Apart from all the completely expected stuff that he says — he’s excited to be here and ready to go, the trade was tough on him but now he knows his teammates and how the Jays do business, etc. — he says the completely expected thing about hitting in the lead-off spot. Which, of course, is that he’s totally willing to do that!

“I’ll let skip make the lineup and hopefully I’m in it,” he says. Stock answer, sure, and maybe not what he’d tell John Gibbons privately, but… I dunno… kinda noteworthy? Especially since he’s leading in the poll we’ve got going in the sidebar about who it should fall to to hit atop this lineup (you know, the one where a bunch of wrong people are picking Kevin Pillar over Russell Martin in the non-Tulo division).

Here, check out the clip:

And 3) This is an excuse to again point to (and expand on) an item I noted in Monday’s Daily Duce, wherein Ian from the Blue Jay Hunter took a shot of Tulo’s swing from this Instagram clip, and compared it to one of his swings from last fall, coming up with this side-by-side GIF:

Tulo-Stance-Comparison

That… looks… better. Right? Like, kind of a lot better.

Oh man, Tulo’s gonna crush it this year. Can’t you feel it?

Now please seriously quit arguing to give Kevin Pillar 50 or 60 more at bats than him over the course of the year (assuming they both stay healthy, which… um… let’s not get into that right now).

Oh, and if you’re wondering about the weird crop on the top image, I did that because I figured it wasn’t cool to go posting a picture of someone’s kid by way of their personal Instagram page. Right? But full credit for the photo is to Instagrammer @csuphillips, and you can see the original here.

  • toprightcorner

    More important than the leg step is Tulo keeping his back elbow higher at the start and through the entire swing. This drives the ball, his past swing is one that can result in pop outs unless you kit the ball square.

  • toprightcorner

    Tulo can hit 25 HR’s, 100 RBI’s, why would you put him in the leadoff position and waste all that offensive power. Tulo should be an absolute last resort as a leadoff hitter. It is a completely diferent way of approaching the AB and a tough adjustment for someone who has only driven in RBI’s in his career, not simply get on base. Easily the most expensive leadoff hitter.

    • AJ, Breakfast Army Fan

      We’ve come to look at this as a rather outdated view of lineup construction. What’s most valuable is getting your best hitters as many at bats as possible, i.e. hitting them as high up in the lineup as possible. Tulo does not have to change his approach one bit. Guys like Tulo and Martin have been high-OBP guys as is. In the end, though, Gibby will put out whatever lineup that scores the most runs. The lineup day 1 is not the lineup for all 162+

      • AJ, Breakfast Army Fan

        To be clear, I have been a proponent of Tulo not hitting leadoff, under the assumption that he doesn’t prefer hitting there. I love Tulo and want him to be in the best position to succeed.

        At the same time, it’s obvious what the “preferable” lineup would be, with Tulo leading off, Pillar down at 7 or 8 where he can swipe a bag if he gets on before the big hitters come up, etc.

    • AJ pretty much nailed it, but there are other factors as well. Revere – who some viewed as a prototypical leadoff guy, tho…meh – was expendable because this team has virtually zero need for speed out of the leadoff spot, since why would they risk getting a CS with guys like JD, bats, EE, tulo (and more!) coming up. it rubs traditionalists the wrong way, but shoe-horning a proto-leadoff guy in there does a disservice to the way this lineup has been built.

      also, the lead-off spot leads off once/game. there’s a lead-off hitter in every inning, no one seems overly concerned with how a hitter leading off an inning copes with that scenario.

      there’s also the added psychological benefit of forcing the opposing starter to face a high-calibre hitter right off the bat, especially with JD/bats/EE coming up right after – whoever’s in that spot is going to see pitches to hit

      also…RBIs?

      also…lead-off hitters get an extra ~60 or so ABs over the course of a season. why wouldn’t you want one of your best hitters getting those ‘extra’ ABs?

    • DAKINS

      It seems to have been covered already but it really boils down to is:

      Give you best players the most at bats.

      Tulo being a high OBP guy also makes him a great candidate.

    • Steve-O

      Below are a few links (and the articles have even more links if you want to do a deep-dive) that touch on why that way of thinking is outdated and not supported by the numbers.

      Basically, the idea is to have your best OBP guy hit leadoff: The lead-off hitter comes to bat only 36% of the time with a runner on base, versus 44% of the time for the next lowest spot in the lineup, so why waste homeruns? The lead-off hitter also comes to the plate the most times per game, so why give away outs?

      Here are the Jays’ top guys by career OBP:

      Tulo (.369)
      Bautista (.368)
      Donaldson (.354)
      Martin (.352)
      EE (.351)

      The Book says the #2 hitter comes to bat in situations about as important as the #3 hitter, but more often. That means the #2 hitter should be better than the #3 guy, and one of the best three hitters overall.

      So here’s where, in an ideal world, Bautista would probably hit #2 but he seems to have a preference for the #3 spot, and really it’s splitting hairs between Donaldson and Bautista as your #2 and #3.

      Anyway, some food for thought, but the way Gibbons built the lineup 1-5 when Tulo was first acquired was very sabermetrically inclined. Yet another reason (among many) why Gibby is the best.

      http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/are-league-wide-batting-orders-more-optimized/

      http://fivethirtyeight.com/datalab/the-spot-in-mlb-lineups-where-managers-are-still-ignoring-sabermetrics/

      http://www.beyondtheboxscore.com/2009/3/17/795946/optimizing-your-lineup-by

      • Cdnbeermaven

        Im not saying i disagree, but wouldnt it be wasting homeruns to put a power hitter in the spot that comes to the plate with a runner on base the least often?

        • MaxPower417

          The bit of value you lose is more than made up for by the extra atbats given to one of your best hitters. Maybe if Tulo was an all or nothing power hitter thr math would tip in the other direction but hes the best OBP guy on the team too.

  • Psmithy

    From the original video, Goins, Tulo, and Pillar, Colo all working on a leg kick.

    Think we should change the name to the Toronto Leg kicks! with Donaldson and Jose Bautista already some early founders.

  • Steve-O

    To the old DJF and AndrewStoeten.com crew – I’ve done my fair share of bellyaching over the way the comments are structured on this new site too, but I think we would all be well served by having a bit of patience with it. It’s getting a bit over the top.

    I like Disqus as much as anyone, and hopefully some changes can be made to improve things, but let’s try to be constructive in our criticism and not just poop all over the place.

    Ok, that’s all. I’ll stop being a dad now. 🙂

    • Paul M

      It’s fine I guess. I mean, the Disqus reply notifications made some dialogue easier. And what the blurple is with the no swearing? If I wanted BBB, I’d attend church.

      I also miss my Critic avatar…

      That is all.

  • Barry

    My sources tell me that Bautista’s ask was a kajillion dollars for a contract length of “forever and ever.” Rogers’ beancounters are currently looking for the infinity key on their calculators before responding.

  • OakvilleJays

    I find the rumours about Bautista’s contract demands are becoming silly.

    Is it 6/$175 ? That’s not realistic.

    Rogers must be freaking out over him going public & calling out the company.

    The media narrative seems to be leaning towards letting him at the end of the season.

    That would make me very sad, because I think he has been the best Jays player since 2009.

    I would like to get more information on the Jay Bruce trade. Who was the Jays minor leaguer that failed his medical?

  • AJ, Breakfast Army Fan

    I say all this as someone who has been a Jose Bautista fan.

    1. Bautista did himself a lot of damage with his press conference. Interestingly, the team said nothing about his ‘ultimatum’ in the two weeks since they met. It was Bautista, at his press conference, who pompously announced that he has delivered a non-negotiatable ultimatum to the Blue Jays. They can meet it, or make other plans he says, because negotiating is beneath him. ”I don’t think there should be any negotiations. I think I’ve proved myself, and the question has been asked – what will it take – and I’ve given them an answer,” Bautista said. ”I’m not going to sit here and try to bargain for a couple dollars.”

    2. Whenever I have seen someone put themselves up high, it is a prelude to a very long fall. I think this is what Bautista has done for himself. If he has a good season, most people (and I’m one of them) will now think, thanks, now good to see the back of you. If he has a poor, or even mediocre season, the derision will be relentless.

    3. I’ve read Bautista is a big union guy, and maybe this is his way of showing he’s a guy who will make sure he gets the top dollar ‘for the cause’.

    4. Despite his pompous claim that he ‘gave this organization a hometown discount for five years’, Bautista did nothing of the sort. There was a lot of concern when Bautista was signed to a big contract after having one great year following a career of utility-level seasons. Toronto took the risk, not Jose, and for him to claim that he gave the team a ‘hometown discount’ is bull.

    5. What a poor way to start off the season. He’s really taken the veneer off the pre-season excitement with his behaviour. Sad to see.

    • if he was willing to put himself out there, then all it really says is that he knows exactly who he is, what (he thinks) he’s capable of, and thus, what his worth will be on the open market after this season.

      agreeing to an extension now & foregoing the opportunity to test the market has an added cost built in (i.e. it’ll cost more to do a deal now, since he’s theoretically giving up his ability to have teams compete for his services).

      maybe he’s doing this because he’s sick of listening to excuses from rogers as to why they can’t ‘afford’ to bump up the payroll? maybe he feels like he’s given them 5 years of production that far outstrips what they’ve paid for said production? maybe he doesn’t believe rogers when they claim the team loses money?