Tulowitzki

Tulowitzki

PHOENIX -- Many players would be delirious with some of Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki's "slow" starts.

Tulowitzki entered Sunday's game against the D-backs with a career .871 on-base percentage plus slugging percentage. His career OPS for April is .777. Only 10 players with 600 or more Major League games have a greater difference between their OPS in April and their careers overall.

Usually guys who have jumps during a season are considered "slow starters." In Tulowitkzi's case, he starts strong and heats up more. He has an .809 first-half OPS, which means he lifts that number .062 points during the season.

"I would say I've started slow compared to the second half of some years," Tulowitzki said. "But there's no doubt about it. When you're feeling good out there, your chances to succeed are going to be good."

If Tulowitzki's OPS rises at the same rate this year, he could put himself in the National League Most Valuable Player category. Tulowitzki went into Sunday afternoon leading Major League shortstops a 1.008 OPS, 35 points higher than that of the Athletics' Jed Lowrie. Tulowitzki's .610 slugging percentage also led the Majors, 50 points higher than Lowrie's.

Tulowitzki's strong numbers have included an 0-for-10, three-game rut April 14-16 and an 0-for-7 doubleheader with the Braves on April 23. The slow starts of the past have taught Tulowitzki how to ride out his struggles, and that trait is paying off in quick adjustments this year.

Tulowitzki is also taking time to appreciate being healthy, after being limited to 47 games last year because of a left groin problem that led to surgery to remove scar tissue.

"I've been through a lot of them. If anything, experience has helped. I've had some ups, definitely had some downs. But just because I've been hurt and I want to play so bad, sometimes no matter how you do, good or bad -- you're just happy to be out there playing."

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.