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The Strike Zone

Mile-High Man: Rockies' Troy Tulowitzki on the cover for Sports Illustrated's June 2 issue

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Troy Tulowitzki has been the best player in baseball through the first two months of the season, and that hot start has landed him a regional cover of Sports Illustrated. In this week's issue, staff writer Ben Reiter profiles the early National League MVP favorite, who has been tattooing the ball all season, especially in the friendly confines of Coors Field.

Thanks in large part to some ridiculous numbers at home (a .521 average, 1.559 OPS and eight homers), Tulowitzki has been the game's best player so far this year. His 4.6 WAR is tops among all players and puts him on pace for a staggering 14.9 mark, which would be better than Barry Bonds' record-setting 2001 season (11.9) or Babe Ruth's otherworldly 1923 (14.1). By both offensive and defensive measures, Tulowitzki is crushing the competition, putting his name back in the discussion for the best player in baseball.

That's rarely been the case in recent years, as Tulowitzki has been felled by a long list of injuries (a wrist fracture, a groin strain and a broken rib in the last four seasons) and spent and a total of 260 days spent on the disabled list. How has he managed to stay healthy this year? A devotion to a new training and preparation regimen inspired by tennis star Novak Djokovic, whose strict diet and conditioning led Tulowitzki to change the way he takes care of his body. The results have been dramatic, as a healthy Tulowitzki has led the Rockies to a surprisingly good start in pursuit of their first postseason berth in five years.

Along with the Tulowitzki profile, this week's issue features two other baseball stories: a short piece by Jay Jaffe on how Coors Field is once again proving to be a hitter's haven, and a column by Albert Chen arguing that major league teams should be allowed to trade draft picks.
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