The oft-injured Troy Tulowitzki stayed fairly healthy for a second straight season -- in fact, he was healthier in 2016 than he'd been in any of his previous four campaigns, playing 131 games and tallying 492 at-bats. The shortstop did make one trip to the 15-day DL beginning in late May, but based on his track record, it was the quality, not the quantity, of his at-bats that underwhelmed his owners. Tulowitzki's .254 average was his lowest such mark since he hit .240 over 96 at-bats in his 2006 rookie season. He had average plate discipline, and for just the second time in seven seasons, finished with a contact rate under 80 percent (the prior year he posted a 77 percent contact rate). In fairness, the two-time Silver Slugger winner (2010 and 2011) suffered a bit of bad luck with a career-worst .275 BABIP. He remains an easy top-10 option at shortstop in the power categories, but the influx of young talent at the position has pushed him to the edge of the top-10 when factoring in average, runs and steals.
Tulowitzki spent a considerable amount of time working at the Jays' minor-league complex during the offseason, the National Post reports. The veteran shortstop said most of his time during the offseason was spent mentoring young players through defensive drills. Tulowitzki mentioned that helping the youth was rewarding, but the work also was beneficial in preparing him for his 12th big league season. The 32-year-old has made it clear that he wants to remain a shortstop for his entire career (something that many, including Cal Ripken Jr. and Alex Rodriguez, were unable to do), but the position is extremely taxing on the body. Tulowitzki enjoyed a healthy season (by his standards) and played in 131 games last year, his most since 2011 with the Rockies. Although his offense may have dipped a bit in 2016, the two-time Silver Slugger is still a top-offensive option among shortstops. As seems to always be the case, Tulowitzki's health will dictate just how valuable of a fantasy asset he'll be in the upcoming campaign. It's encouraging to hear, though, that's he's taken steps in the off season to prepare his body for the beating it'll take at shortstop.
Tulowitzki went 2-for-4 with a pair of two-RBI singles in Friday's 9-0 victory over the Yankees. Tulo excelled with men on base Friday, opening the scoring in the first with a bases-loaded hit that drove home Josh Donaldson and Edwin Encarnacion. He came through with the bases jammed again in the seventh, plating Encarnacion and Jose Bautista with another single that pushed the Blue Jays' lead to 7-0. Tulowitzki has hits in five of his last seven games and now has double-digit RBI (11) for the third consecutive month.
Tulowitzki went 1-for-4 with a two-run homer and a walk in Friday's 5-0 win over the Angels. Tulowitzki broke a scoreless tie in the fourth with his 24th home run of the year -- a two-run blast off Jered Weaver. After getting off to a slow start, Tulowitzki has looked more like himself over the past three months, slashing .294/.351/.511 with 16 home runs and 50 RBI in 69 games dating back to June 19. His .781 OPS is only marginally better than last year's .777, but his 24 home runs and 73 RBI are his most since 2013. While no longer the best shortstop in baseball, Tulowitzki is still one of the better fantasy options at the position because of his power.
Tulowitzki went 3-for-4 with a walk and a grand slam in Sunday's loss to the Red Sox. He's caught fire at the right time for the Blue Jays as they push for a playoff spot, and Tulowitzki's now slashing .367/.424/.533 in September with four multi-hit performances in his last six games.
Tulowitzki is out of the lineup Monday against the Yankees, Brendan Kennedy of the Toronto Star reports. The Blue Jays haven't provided a reason for Tulowitzki's absence, but it's conceivable that manager John Gibbons may have just wanted to give the veteran a rest with the team playing back-to-back afternoon games. With Tulowitzki out of the lineup, Darwin Barney will get the start at shortstop and bat ninth in the order.