Tulo bashes way to second Silver Slugger
Rockies' SS cracked 30 HRs, set career high with 105 RBIs
Troy Tulowitzki will take a 4-for-4 game any time. And the Rockies' star shortstop isn't about to turn down a perfect 4-for-4 week in the awards department, either.
Tulowitzki earned his second straight Silver Slugger Award as the National League's top hitting shortstop on Wednesday as voted by Major League managers and coaches, continuing a sterling offseason run for the 27-year-old.
Tulowitzki won the Fielding Bible Award for best defensive shortstop in the Major Leagues on Monday, then garnered his second consecutive NL Gold Glove on Tuesday. Additionally, he was selected as the NL All-Star shortstop by The Sporting News last Thursday.
Now he adds another Silver Slugger to his growing trophy case, after hitting .302 with 30 home runs and a career-best 105 RBIs this past season.
Tulowitzki took home his first Silver Slugger in 2010 when he batted .315 with 27 home runs and 95 RBIs. He remains the only Colorado shortstop to win the award.
Tulowitzki is only the third NL shortstop to win both the Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Awards in consecutive seasons since the latter honor was established in 1980, joining Barry Larkin (1995-96) and Edgar Renteria (2002-03).
"To win the Silver Slugger and Gold Glove two straight years is pretty special," Tulowitzki said. "Not too many shortstops can say they've done that. I definitely take a look every once in a while to see how many guys have won those. Those are guys I look up to."
This season, he won the Silver Slugger over fellow finalists Jose Reyes of the Mets and Starlin Castro of the Cubs.
MLB Network analyst Harold Reynolds said Tulowitzki was a "no doubter" to win the award a second straight year.
"I think he's just starting to be healthy and come into his prime," Reynolds said during Wednesday's presentation show. "We're watching one of the greats of all time. He may be, by the time he's done, on that list with [Cal] Ripken, [Barry] Larkin and the like."
Tulowitzki's 30 home runs this season were nearly double the closest NL shortstop (16 by Jimmy Rollins of the Phillies) and his 105 RBIs were far ahead of the 68 of runner-up Yuniesky Betancourt of the Brewers in that category.
The Mets' Reyes had a better batting average at .337, but Tulowitzki posted a .916 OPS (on base plus slugging percentage) compared to the .877 of Reyes. He also had 68 extra-base hits versus 54 by Reyes in the exact same number of at-bats (537).
But Tulowitzki indicated that Gold Gloves are the most important to him, starting with the one he brought home a year ago.
"The first one has extra meaning," he said. "It's your first, and as a kid, what I dreamed about was winning a Gold Glove. Now the second one, you feel you're starting to establish yourself. For me, it's about trying to put a streak of these together.
"I've always taken more pride in defense. As a shortstop, that's what you look at first. I know the game has changed lately to where there are a lot more offensive guys. But for me, being such a big guy, they said if you can play defense you can stay at short and that's probably why I take so much pride in it."
But the 6-foot-3, 215-pounder has produced plenty at the plate as well. He became just the second NL shortstop with a 30 home run/100-RBI season, something Ernie Banks managed five times.
He's the sixth Rockies player to win multiple Silver Slugger Awards, joining Todd Helton (four), Vinny Castilla and Matt Holliday (three each) and Mike Hampton and Larry Walker (two apiece).
But ultimately, Tulowitzki said there's another trophy he'd like to be hoisting at the season's end -- he'd prefer the Commissioner's Trophy, awarded to the World Series champions.
"Without a doubt, it's not even close," he said. "These awards are nice, but I definitely want to be doing what the Cardinals did and hold up that trophy at the end of the year. But at the same time, if you have a team filled with Gold Gloves and Silver Sluggers, you have a better chance to get there."