Troy Tulowitzki wants to finish his career as a shortstop, and cares not for your advanced statistics!
The Jays’ injured star met with the media this afternoon in Toronto, for some reason, and by far the most notable comments he made were in response to questions about whether or not he’d ever be willing to switch positions.
Asked if a position change could be in his future, Blue Jays shortstop Troy Tulowitzki: pic.twitter.com/peH96TXGos
— Arden Zwelling (@ArdenZwelling) August 30, 2017
Thing is, it’s a little bit odd that he’d even be asked that. Tulowitzki, at least for me, still very much passes the eye test at short. Yes, his UZR this year isn’t great, but we’re talking about a 560 inning sample of a metric that really needs something like a few years to be all that meaningful. His UZR/150 was -2.2 in 2017, which is almost identical to the -2.1 he put up in his just-as-injury-shortened 2012. The years in between? 7.6, 4.5, 4.9, 5.4. For his career it’s at 5.1.
Did he look all that different as a defender in 2017 than he did in 2016, when the metrics graded him out quite nicely above average? I didn’t think so. And so, is the weak UZR a sign of age-related decline, or just a bit of a statistical wobble?
I don’t think it’s absolutely the latter, but I think there’s a pretty good chance. Plus, his DRS was a nice, average zero — albeit down from the +10 he posted last year, when he looked… literally exactly the same.
And even if he did take a major and permanent step back this season, what the hell is anybody supposed to do about it??? His bat doesn’t play at first base, and the Jays have, like, fifteen 1B/DH types as it is. To play him at second would waste his incredible arm and put him a little too much in the line of fire on double play turns. And it seems to me like the team has a pretty good third baseman already. SO WHY ARE WE TALKING ABOUT THIS?
I mean, sure, going forward it’s a question that’s possibly going to have to be asked a little more seriously. If Josh Donaldson doesn’t re-sign, third base in 2019 will certainly be calling… for, like, three weeks until Vlad Jr. gets brought up for good. And though most think Vlad probably isn’t going to stick at the position long-term, that’s a discussion that could certainly be put off until after Tulo is gone.
In other words, Troy Tulowitzki is very much this team’s shortstop for the foreseeable future, folks. And guess what? That’s entirely fine!!! REMEMBER THE LAST GUY????