Troy Tulowitzki broke out in a big way in his 2007 rookie year, hitting .291 with 24 Home Runs and 99 Runs Batted In, while narrowly missing out on NL Rookie of the Year honors to Ryan Braun.
However in 2008 he took steps back, never being quite healthy and it showed in the statistics. He put up an ugly .263 average with only 8 home runs in 101 games, numbers that would scare away fantasy owners going into 2009.
In 2009, Tulowitzki was a low-risk high-reward pickup late in fantasy drafts and boy did he deliver, to the tune of a 32 homer, 92 runs batted in season with a good average of .292. He also showed previously unseen speed, as he stole 20 bases.
This has earned him an Average Draft Position of 22.2 at ESPN fantasy. Shortstop is arguably even shallower than last season, with Jose Reyes and Jimmy Rollins posing question marks to fantasy owners, dropping their stock.
Yet Troy Tulowitzki turned in a huge year for a shortstop and should continue his development at the rather young age of 25. Consider the following two stat lines:
2009 Troy Tulowitzki: .292 AVG, .552 SLG, 32 HR, 92 RBI, 20 SB
2008 Hanley Ramirez: .301 AVG, .540 SLG, 33 HR, 67 RBI, 35 SB
After the 2008 season, fantasy owners across the globe were worshiping Hanley Ramirez as the sport's premier player. He was drafted first overall in the majority of 2009 fantasy drafts.
As you can see, 2008 Hanley probably slightly edges 2009 Tulowitzki, but it's a lot closer than you would think, Tulowitzki holding his own in power categories.
With Stolen Bases being more plentiful across the board this year, the 15-SB gap shouldn't be a big deal, especially with Hanley Ramirez trending towards power instead of speed since his switch to batting third in the Florida lineup.
Not to mention that Tulowitzki had a monster second half last year (.344 AVG, 55 RBI, superior numbers across the board), a split many see as evidence of a statistical increase the following season.
So please, fellow fantasy baseball owners, do not pass up Troy Tulowitzki without serious consideration on draft day.