Long-time Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki -- who briefly suited up for the Yankees in 2019 --retired on Thursday, so what better time to reflect upon his legacy? The legacy of Tulowitzki is an inner-circle all-time Rockies great. He has been one of the young franchise's faces, but his resume is not quite worthy of Cooperstown.
A first-round pick out of Long Beach State in 2005, Tulowitzki would reach the majors one year later. He was good almost immediately, finishing second in NL Rookie of the Year voting in 2007 and helping the Rockies ride an incredible hot streak all the way to the World Series. It was the lone pennant in club history.
Tulowitzki ended his Rockies career in 2015 when he was traded to the Blue Jays. In his parts-of-10-seasons Rockies career, here's where Tulowitzki ranks in club history:
Batting average: .299 (9th)
On-base percentage: .371 (8th)
Slugging percentage: .513 (11th)
OPS+: 123 (6th)
Hits: 1391 (7th)
Doubles: 224 (6th)
Home runs: 188 (7th)
RBI: 657 (7th)
Runs: 660 (6th)
WAR: 39.4 (3rd)
Note the WAR being third behind Todd Helton and Larry Walker. Tulowitzki was an excellent defender for years at the most important non-battery position on the field, so his WAR shows he's better than where his hitting stats leave him. He's second in defensive WAR to Nolan Arenado. He even had an unassisted triple play (shout-out to my friend Zach McClellan for throwing the pitch! Go Hoosiers!):
Arenado is gonna pass Tulowitzki in WAR, but using that stat (which is not the only stat that is important, but it does factor in defense and baserunning so it's very useful), I think it's fair to say Tulowitzki is the fourth-greatest Rockies player ever.
Now, I know it's a young franchise and that explains how a player can be fourth-best in a franchise's history and not a Hall of Famer, because Tulowitzki falls short.
Part of Tulowitzki's legacy is how often he missed time with injuries. As such, his counting stats fall short almost across the board: 1,391 hits, 264 doubles, 225 homers, 780 RBI, 762 runs, 57 steals. The slash would've played with more counting stats, as he hit .290/.361/.495 (118 OPS+) with excellent defense at shortstop.
Said defense does boost him into "worthy of short discussion" for the Hall of Fame, as he posted four 6-plus WAR seasons and two more 5-plus WAR seasons. The JAWS system on baseball-reference.com puts him 26th all-time at shortstop, one spot ahead of Miguel Tejada and a few spots behind Nomar Garciaparra. He's more than 20 WAR short of the average Hall of Fame shortstop, though his peak seven years WAR puts him nearly to the average.
He'll get on the Hall of Fame ballot and probably receive a few votes, but my hunch is he's five-percented off the ballot either the first or second time. And that's fine. He was a great player for a long time, one of the greatest Rockies ever, but he didn't put together a Hall of Fame career. That's no insult, either. Kudos to Mr. Tulowitzki for an admirable career.