The Second Coming of Jeter: What Troy Tulowitzki can do in New York
For the entirety of his career, Troy Tulowitzki has worn the number two. His reasoning is not very complicated. His favorite player growing up was Derek Jeter (and for good reason, as mentioned earlier this week), and he wore his number to honor the former Yankees’ Captain. With the Rockies, the player known as “Tulo” did a good job of emulating Jeter both on and off the field, arguably playing at a higher level than the Captain in his prime. His Colorado slash line – a .299 Batting Average, .371 On Base Percentage, and .513 Slugging Percentage – is impressive to say the least, not to mention his strong defensive metrics (career 13.8 Baseball Reference Defensive Wins Above Replacement). However, he hit a rough patch with the Blue Jays, struggling to stay healthy and match his success in Colorado. It appeared that his time as a top tier player is over.
Now, with Didi Gregorius out after undergoing Tommy John surgery, Tulowitzki is playing shortstop with the Yankees. He has the chance to not only play the same position as his childhood hero, but also to lead the team as the former Captain did.
It would be silly to think that Tulo is going to instantly play at his Colorado levels. He does not have the altitude of Coors Field to help him. However, he feels healthy. He had a year away from the game to heal and is going to come back fresher than he did in Toronto.
With his good health comes his bat. He already has left a dent in the scoreboard high up after one week of Spring Training. Maybe he will not hit like he did in Colorado, but he still has potential to hit at a high level. Also, Yankees Stadium is pretty friendly to hitters.
In addition, Tulowitzki will still play short at the high level that Gregorius played at the position. Even though he was hurt for much of his time with the Blue Jays, Tulo still had a 3.1 defensive WAR with Toronto. His high level of defense at the Keystone will definitely be felt this season.
Another factor to look at is that Tulowitzki was signed to a one-year deal with a full no-trade clause. Mentally, Tulo will in a great place knowing that he cannot be traded at any point without his consent as he was with Colorado. Even when he loses the starting job mid-season, he knows that his team is committed to him for the full season.
With this commitment, Tulowitzki will be able to provide the Bombers with his leadership. This is a player who has made three trips to a League Championship series and a World Series appearance. He has been noted across MLB for his character and his effort on the field. Tulowitzki has the chance to make a Jeter-like impact on a young, growing roster.
So, while he may not be the impact signing most Yankees fans were expecting to see, Troy Tulowitzki still has the chance to make an impression in New York. Like the player he admired for a generation, Tulowitzki is in a position to lead the Yankees back to glory.