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The Blue Jays arguably made the biggest blockbuster trade of the 2015 season when they swapped former All-Star Jose Reyes and two top pitching prospects for Troy Tulowitzki. This move surprised many because the Blue Jays already have a stacked lineup and are in need of pitching depth. Personally, I love the move and hope they choose to keep Tulowitzki. His acquisition shows a commitment to building the most powerful and dominant lineup in baseball. They could also flip Tulowitzki to a team like the Mets for one of their many aces. It is obvious that the Blue Jays got the best player in the deal so why were the Rockies willing to comply? Reason number one likely has to do with the more than $50 million they are saving by dealing him. But a second and more exciting reason is their recent draft pick of high school shortstop Brendan Rodgers. Tulowitzki’s departure from Colorado opens the door for Rodgers to make his way to the MLB as soon as his game is ready. Rodgers’ smooth and powerful stroke ironically draws many similarities to Tulowitzki’s. You can see his swing from a high school home run derby below.
Before the Troy Tulowitzki trade, the Blue Jays already had the leading offense in baseball. Toronto ranks first in OPS (.770) and second in Slugging (.440). They also rank first in runs (530), outscoring the next team by fifty-three runs! The addition of Tulowitzki’s premiere power bat from the shortstop position should make the Jays lineup one of the most feared since the steroid era. In order to get a sense of this, I want you to imagine you are a starting pitcher and you see the lineup card below. Are you excited to take the mound that day?
1. Troy Tulowitzki SS (5 x All Star, .885 Career OPS)
2. Josh Donaldson 3B (2 x All Star, .821 Career OPS)
3. Jose Bautista RF (6 x All Star, .859 Career OPS)
4. Edwin Encarnacion DH (2 x All Star, .832 Career OPS)
5. Justin Smoak 1B
6. Chris Colabello LF (.848 OPS This Season)
7. Russell Martin C (4 x All Star, .822 OPS This Season)
8. Kevin Pillar CF
9. Devon Travis 2B (.859 OPS)
Good luck having an easy inning against these mashers. At the end of the article I will post links to other articles we have done that include some of the Blue Jays sluggers above. In just his first game as a Blue Jay, Tulowitzki has already shown his value going 3-5 with a home run and two doubles. Below is a swing breakdown of Troy Tulowitzki’s first home run as a Blue Jay where I discuss his impact on the Toronto lineup.
As I stated earlier, I absolutely love the move to acquire Tulo assuming he is able to stay healthy. Many analysts were critical of the Jays, saying that they should have targeted pitching. While pitching is an important piece to winning, improvement of the Blue Jays greatest strength may help them overcome their deficiencies on the mound. After all, the rules of baseball are simple. The team with the most runs at the end of the game wins. The Blue Jays now sit two and a half games back in the wild card and are poised to make a run at their first playoff appearance since 1993.
(Can you tell we love Bautista?)
Thank you for reading!
Gabe Dimock – Baseball Rebellion Hitting Instructor