Troy Tulowitzki stated last week that he began his big league career as a shortstop, and that’s where he plans to finish it.
A lot of people like Tulowitzki at shortstop for the Blue Jays. It’s just when you factor in how much money he makes, the length of his contract, that he’s injury prone, and the talent level of some of the younger Blue Jays who play shortstop…it begs the question as to who actually is Toronto’s best shortstop these days.
It’s fun to think about how soon it’ll be before a promising young star like Bo Bichette is ready to play for the Blue Jays. It’s safe to say that even at just 19, Bichette is arguably the best hitting shortstop the Blue Jays have, and that includes Tulowitzki. Obviously there’s a huge difference between hitting in the big leagues compared to Single A where Bichette has played this year. That being said, if Tulowitzki or Ryan Goins were to have spent the entire 2017 season in Single A, I highly doubt they’d hit anything close to the .362 AVG that Bichette put up.
As MLB ready as Bichette appears to be when it comes to the offensive side of his game, he’ll be the first to admit he still has some work to do when it comes to fine tuning his defense at shortstop. Because of his defense, as well as his inexperience as a professional ball player, Bichette isn’t ready to supplant a veteran like Tulowitzki just yet.
When it comes to such an important defensive position like shortstop, you almost want a defense first type of player instead of just the guy who’s most proficient at the plate. Considering that prospects like Bichette, Logan Warmoth, and Richard Urena still have work to do in the minors, the question as to the best shortstop becomes one of Tulowitzki or Goins.
For years people have ripped Goins for not being a good enough hitter. An argument for Goins being far better at the plate than his career slash indicates (.224/.272/.329) is that whenever he’s had the opportunity to be an everyday player, such as this season or back in 2015, his slash improves to a more reasonable .239/.299/.347. In fact, Goins slash as an everyday player isn’t too far off from what Tulowitzki’s is with the Blue Jays (.250/.313/.414).
All things considered, Tulowitzki is still the best shortstop the Blue Jays have. But with him being prone to injury, and his performance at the plate slipping, players like Goins and Bichette are closing the gap fast between themselves and the 5-time all-star. With three years remaining on his contract after this season, it isn’t so much a question of will Tulowitzki be Toronto’s starting shortstop by the end of his contract, but more a question of when one of Toronto’s younger shortstops will supplant him as the starter.