In the not-to-distant past, Troy Tulowitzki was a premium fantasy asset and a frustrating conundrum for fantasy owners. He played a premium position, devoid of elite and even secondary talents, but it was forever a question of when, not if, he would get hurt and how long. As a fantasy player, I was always on board with taking Tulowitzki high – expounding the same position that I took with Giancarlo Stanton – Tulowtizki plus player X was the number one shortstop, hands down.
In recent years, as you are well aware, the shortstop position has been infused with young talent and Tulowitzki has left the friendly confines of Coors Field for the less friendly, but still welcoming Rogers Centre. He has been surpassed by the likes of Carlos Correa, Corey Seager, Xander Bogaerts and Jonathan Villar. After leaving Colorado, he has also seen his production decline. Entering his age 32 season, Tulowitzki is an afterthought as the ninth overall SS with an ADP of 148.44 – that is the 13th round.
Last year, in 131 games, Tulowitzki slugged 24 homers with an uninspiring .254/.318/.443 triple-slash – basically, Tulowitzki had morphed into a slight more productive version of Jhonny Peralta.
As you probably can guess though, there is reason for optimism with respect to Tulowitzki. He struggled in the first half of last year to begin the season and landed on the DL in late May. Through May 27, Tulowitzki was putrid – 8 homers with a .204/.288/.383 triple-slash. Although there was some poor luck involved (.232 BABIP), Tulowitzki was striking out at 25% clip and had a flyball heavy profile with a line drive rate of just 9%.
However, after a three-week DL stint, Tulowitzki was able to turn his season around. From June 18 forward, Tulowtizki slugged 16 homers, struck out just 14.7% of the time and triple slashed .280/.333/.474. Over all full season, this extended stretch would prorated to a 30 homer, 100 RBI pace. His first two months, when injury was likely a factor given the dramatic split, are masking the production that Tulowtizki gave his owners throughout the season’s second half.
Admittedly, it is highly unlikely that you could get a full, healthy season out of Tulowitzki, but he no longer requires a premium pick to bet on his upside or gamble on his health. In the 13th round, he is one of your final starting position players and it is easy enough to pair Tulowitzki with a productive player, who can be productive for the 20-40 games that Tulowitzki will inevitably miss. For instance, you could easily and inexpensively pair Tulowitzki with a fellow shortstop like Marcus Semien (ADP 200.6) or Brandon Crawford (ADP 243.6). Or a player with multi-position eligibility like Jedd Gyorko (ADP 230.29), Matt Duffy (ADP 324.55) or Sean Rodriguez (ADP 307.38), who could still be useful even when Tulowitzki is healthy.
The same rule still applies. If we assume Tulowitzki, when healthy, will hit at a 30 homer, 75 R, 100 RBI .280/.340/.460 type pace, which was his post-June 18, 2016 pace. If take 30 games off the top, we are looking at 24 HR, 60 R, 80 RBI in terms of counting production. If we pair that with 30 games of what Semien gives you, we are looking at a player that will combine for 28 HRs, 85 R, 85 RBI and likely an average in the .270s with a near .800 OPS.
That is a very productive player for the price of a 13th and 16th round selection. The math does not change much if you ait for one of the post-round 20 options. Of course, there is still the potential that Tulowitzki has one more, peak-esque season in him. A 35 HR, .300 average season. The hard contact is still there, the overall contact was still there in the second half. In my opinion, a Tulowitzki selection in the 13th round is all upside.