After a historic finish in 2010 and a strong April in 2011, many in the media were speculating that Troy Tulowitzki would be in the running for the NL MVP this season. However, Tulowitzki endured a difficult May where he saw his 2011 slash line drop to .251/.328/.483.
Despite last month's struggles, Rockies fans and fantasy owners should not give up on him. Tulowitzki has been the victim of a .229 BABIP (career .311 BABIP), and his batted ball rates are similar to his career rates. In fact, Tulowitzki's line-drive rate improved by one percent in May, but he struggled with a .196 BABIP.
Tulowitzki still leads all shortstops in the majors with 11 home runs, and his .230 ISO is only slightly below his 2010 mark of .253 (.208 career ISO). He continues to hit home runs at a reasonable rate, and his 14.3 percent HR/FB ratio is consistent with his career mark (14.1 percent)
Additionally, he has improved his strikeout rate dramatically in 2011. His 8.6 percent rate (eighth-lowest among qualified hitters) is a significant improvement over 2010 (16.6 percent) and his career rate (18.2 percent). Tulowitzki ranks in the top 15 among hitters with the lowest swinging strike percentage (3.8 percent), a two percent drop from last season.
Along with the improved contact, he has improved his plate discipline by chasing two percent less of pitches out of the strike zone, which has led to a 10 percent walk rate this season.
It should be only a matter of time before Tulowitzki turns his season around. I have yet to find any alarming stats that would indicate a continuing decline. It will only be matter of time until his BABIP increases, and his home and away splits indicate that he has yet to get on a hot streak at home. Rockies fans should not fret, as he is still on a pace to hit 30 home runs, and his batting average should be in the .280-.295 range by the time the season is over.