Is it time to worry about Troy Tulowitzki?

When former Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos traded for Troy Tulowitzki last July, fans expected to get the five-time all-star, the perennial MVP candidate, and perhaps the best shortstop in the world. But since arriving in Toronto, he's played like anything but.

Anthopoulos acquired Tulowitzki and reliever LaTroy Hawkins from the Colorado Rockies in exchange for shortstop Jose Reyes and pitching prospects Jeff Hoffman, Miguel Castro and Jesus Tinoco on July 28, 2015. It seemed like a small price to pay in order to supplement an already loaded lineup with one of the best-hitting shortstops of the last decade.

But through 69 regular-season games as a Blue Jay, to say Tulowitzki has been underwhelming would be an understatement. He's hit .209 with an on-base percentage of .298 and an OPS (on-base plus slugging) of .655.

Is it time to sound the alarm?

The Coors effect

Tulowitzki's home for 10 years was Denver's Coors Field, the most hitter-friendly ballpark in the majors because of its high altitude. Baseballs carry there like nowhere else. Hitters love it. Pitchers hate it.

Over those 10 seasons at Coors, Tulowitzki's slash numbers (batting average/on-base percentage/slugging percentage) were .321/.394/.558, with an OPS of .951. Those are superstar numbers. But when he left the friendly confines of his home ballpark, his stats dipped… a lot.

Away from Coors, Tulowitzki's career batting average is a pedestrian .268 and his on-base is .342 — both more than 50-point drops. Those numbers aren't necessarily bad for a shortstop, but considering the praise he's gotten throughout his career and the fanfare he received when he arrived in Toronto, it's worth wondering whether Coors Field was a factor — or, more damning, the factor — in Tulowitzki's reputation as a superstar.

And the sample size in Toronto is big enough to start wondering.

Last year, many excuses for Tulowitzki's post-trade struggles at the plate were available. From moving to a new city, to acclimating to a new clubhouse, to being upset with his old team, Tulowitzki seemed to get a pass for underperforming. But we're now in 2016, and through 28 games the shortstop is hitting .160 and has struck out 33 times, good for sixth-most in the league.

To say it bluntly, he has been one of the worst hitters in baseball this season.

For a player who is the highest paid on the team at $20 million US this year — and is signed through 2020, his age-35 season — more is expected.

Ready to rebound?

In defence of Tulowitzki, he has historically been a slow starter. He's a career .263 hitter in March/April, a .286 hitter in May, and a .322 hitter in June. His worst month between July and October is a still-very-good .295.

Considering his monthly splits and the fact that not even the worst players in baseball finish seasons with batting averages as low as Tulowitzki's is right now, it's fair to expect a rebound in his play. But how substantial will it be?

Tulowitzki is 31 years old and oft-injured, having not played more than 140 games in a season since 2011 when he played 143. His career numbers away from Coors Field show us only a slightly above-average hitter, and his stats since arriving in Toronto have been unpredictably terrible.

Combining all those factors and realizing he's hit .268 away from Coors for his career, expecting anything better than that could be wishful thinking.

For a player who's hitting slightly above the Mendoza line in his Blue Jays tenure thus far, it's time to pump the brakes on the idea of Tulowitzki as a superstar and accept what he is: an aging, average-hitting shortstop. 

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