On Friday, Dave considered Troy Tulowitzki’s trade value in the real world, and today I want to consider his trade value in the fantasy world. As Dave noted, Tulo, who is off to a slow start, still has fairly rosy projections and is a good bet to bounce back. Specifically, his home run per fly ball rate is basically a third of his career rate, and his a rough strikeout and walk rates are too far out of line with his norm to continue.
He probably has at least 15 home runs left in his bat this year, if not 20. And while he may end up with the worst strikeout and walk rates of his career, it’s unlikely they’ll end up being significantly worse than they’ve ever been. You can expect him to be much more helpful in average and/or OBP going forward.
Now that we’ve established Tulo isn’t a dog (tough, I know), what’s his trade value?
Complicating the issue is a quad aggravation that kept Tulo out of the lineup both Saturday and Sunday this weekend. That little “DTD” next to his name on your fantasy platform probably made you say “here we go again.” But ZiPS and Steamer both have Tulo projected for less than 400 plate appearances from here on out, so some time missed is baked into his projection. Considering Tulo could potentially be back in the lineup on Monday, my valuation of him isn’t that much different than it was when I woke up on Friday.
But other owners may be spooked by the day-to-day status, and that could provide an opportunity to buy low on Tulo. You run the risk of insulting someone who drafted Tulo in the second round by offering a trade in which you would acquire Tulo, but the injury issue makes it possible that some owners would be willing to deal him. But for whom?
The most interesting name is Marcus Semien. Semien has been the top shortstop so far according to ESPN’s player rater, and I wonder if some Tulo owners would deal him for Semien right now. To be extremely clear, I do not think a majority of Tulo owners would do so. But 10 percent of Tulo owners? Maybe. If nothing else, making a one-for-one offer could start a discussion that leads to a deal with a few other pieces involved.
If for whatever reason you might be hesitant to offer Semien for Tulo, the difference in projections between the two is pretty significant. As an example, Steamer has Tulo ranked as the 37th best hitter from here on out and Semien ranked 111th (using the z-score method). Outside of steals, Tulo has the edge on Semien in every category with a big projected gap in their batting average and OBP. The projections also have Semien maintaining all of the gains he has made so far with his strikeout rate and improving his walk rate. If his skills don’t live up to those expectations, the gap would be even wider.
Another interesting case study involving Tulo cropped up in my 10-team H2H keeper league with friends from my home town. It’s a league that plays for virtually no money, and I have won the league more than anyone else including a win last year, so bragging rights aren’t a huge concern for me. That said, I want to own Carlos Correa. I’m a huge Astros fan, and I want to own they guy who may potentially be my favorite player.
I stupidly used my late-round, potential keeper picks on Joey Gallo and Jose Fernandez. Correa ended up not being drafted, but I was too busy playing DFS early in the year to realize I should add Correa in mid-April. As a result, I’m left to trading to acquire my new love. The owner who has Correa is a perennially good owner who currently sits in first place. His one weakness happens to be shortstop as Xander Bogaerts is his starter there for the moment. Given his position in the standings and his weakness at short, I assumed the overpay of my Tulo for his Correa would be a no-brainer for him.
When I drunkenly suggested the trade to my Twitter followers last Friday night, I was almost universally chastised. Rightly so, but I’m freely admitting this decision was not being made with my head but with my heart. But as dumb as I was accused of being, the Correa owner said no to a straight up Tulo-for-Correa swap. That was pre-Tulo injury news, and talks further devolved once that news broke on Friday night. Maybe this little scenario says more about Correa’s perceived keeper value than it does Tulo’s, but I thought it was worth mentioning.
Case studies aside, the projections have Tulo as the second best shortstop going forward (behind Hanley) and as a borderline top 40 hitter from here on out. The latest injury issue may provide you with an opportunity to make an offer for him. If you’ve got specific Tulo trade proposals you are considering making or any you have received, feel free to hit me up in the comments. Same goes for any other trade questions involving shortstops.