The 2009 season started off as a major disappointment for almost everyone who drafted Troy Tulowitzki. His performance was as bad as his team’s to start the year. His batting average dipped below the Mendoza line in April and continued to hover around .200 well into May, which was not up to the standards of a top 6 fantasy baseball shortstop.
While he struggled at the plate, many fantasy owners cut ties with Tulo. Even though most fantasy baseball experts recommend against cutting ties with a star player that struggles in the early going, many people sent Tulowitzki to the waiver wire.
Their loss turned out to be their opponents’ gain.
Tulowitzki turned things around as the weather warmed – hitting over .300 in June and bashing 7 home runs (he had 5 total through the end of May). As the Rockies surged in the second half of the season, so did Tulowitzki. In August and September, Tulo posted a .347 average and hit 12 of his 32 home runs. He finished the year with a .297 average, 32 homers, 92 RBI, 101 runs and 20 steals.
While the evidence isn’t definitive, there is some support in the statistics for a conclusion that Troy Tulowitzki is a fair weather phenom. Similar to other infamous slow starters like Mark Teixeira and Ryan Howard, Tulo may be one of those players you draft in 2010 with the intention of getting a return on your investment in the dog days of summer.
Currently, Mock Draft Central mixed league drafts show Tulowitzki being drafted in a typical 5×5, 12-team mixed league late in the second round (no. 17 overall). He’s been taken as high as no. 11… and as low as no. 21 in this year’s mock drafts. Currently, we have him ranked the no. 2 overall shortstop behind Hanley Ramirez. MDC’s draft data backs up that projection – as Tulo is being taken ahead of Jimmy Rollins, Jose Reyes and Derek Jeter.
While I don’t disagree that Tulo is the no. 2 rated shortstop in fantasy baseball, I may recommend holding off until round 3 before drafting him. In the first two rounds of the draft, you need to be selecting the most consistent elite players in fantasy baseball. Therefore, relatively inconsistent players like Tulo, Mark Reynolds, and Carl Crawford should not be in your plans for the first two rounds.
If you have the option in your upcoming draft, taking a proven commodity in new surroundings (like Roy Halladay or Matt Holliday or Victor Martinez) or a consistent 20-20 performer (Grady Sizemore) in the second round seems to be the better option than Tulo.
Is Tulo a great option in round 3 or later? Sure. Just don’t reach too early for a player who won’t give you consistent performance over the full schedule.