Since the All Star break, there is probably no one hotter in all of baseball than Colorado Rockies SS Troy Tulowitzki. After another 2HR game yesterday afternoon, Tulowitzki now has an absurd 9 home runs in the last 10 games including three 2 jack games. His average is up to a splendid .325 with 23 total HR’s, 82 RBI, 77 runs, and 10 stolen bases. No doubt Tulo is filling up all the categories and is helping a great deal of fantasy baseball owners streak to their league titles. So now with 2010 winding down, the question can now be asked: Has Troy Tulowitzki officially passed Florida Marlins SS Hanley Ramirez for the top spot among all shortstops in 2011 drafts? Lets take a look. It should be an interesting comparison.
First lets take a look at Hanley. As far as his numbers are concerned, Ramirez is currently hitting .301 with 21 home runs, 76 RBI, 91 runs, and 32 stolen bases. That’s with an additional 129 at-bats over Tulo who spent time on the DL. Ramirez is solid once again in all of the categories but as an owner, I have to admit I am a bit disappointed in his overall line. In almost every fantasy baseball league, Ramirez was a top 3 draft choice this season due to his rare power/speed combo and the fact he stars at the most shallow position in fantasy baseball. Tulowitzki was not far behind as his average draft spot was at the very end of round 1 or the beginning of round 2. Most Ramirez owners though were looking for the 34 home runs he hit in 2008 or the .342 average from last season. Instead the average is good but not awesome and the power is in line with the 24 home runs he hit last season. The runs and RBI are right on par so no worries there and Ramirez has boosted his stolen base numbers slightly from the 27 of last season. So all in all its been a very good fantasy season from Hanley but more was wanted by his owners. Its clear in studying Ramirez that his true power lies more at the 25 level than the 34 from 2008. His fly ball rate was very high in 2008 and that explains the extra balls that went over the fence. Like I said good but not great.
Now looking at Tulowitzki, its clear that 2009 was the true breakout for his career as he hit 32 home runs with 20 stolen bases while hitting .297. Since he has spent time on the DL this season, if you extrapolate his current numbers over a full complement of at-bats, Tulowitzki would be right at the same numbers from last season with a slight decrease in steals. So when it comes to pure power, Tulowitzki has the clear advantage. When you factor in his ballpark, it makes him look even more appealing over Ramirez who plays in one of the better pitchers parks in baseball.
Both guys should be close in runs and RBI as they both should settle in the number three spot in the batting order in 2011. The steals will favor Ramirez for sure as Tulo has OK speed but wont light up the category any time soon. 20 would be about the max he would get in any given here. Ramirez also wont ever hit the 50 he did when he first came up but between 25 and 35 should be easily attainable.
So we have advantage Tulo in power, advantage Hanley in steals, and a push in runs and RBI. So that leaves batting average. Of course batting average is the toughest category to forecast due to luck and BAPIP and both guys have proven to be solid .300 average hitters. So really this is also a push with no clear advantage on either end here.
That really leaves us with a dead heat between Tulowitzki and Ramirez. Both are still young and both have a ton of talent. The one caveat I will mention that could help you make the decision is the fact that Tulowitzki has spent time on the DL each of the last three seasons. So clearly he is more injury prone that the durable Ramirez. In the end I would still draft Hanley over Tulowitzki in 2011 based on the injury issue but I wont object if you go the other way. They really are that close.
Lets hear what you have to say. Post your thoughts below.