Antonio Senzatela has stormed into the Colorado Rockies spotlight in a very short amount of time.
Consider his meteoric rise within not only the organization but also all of Major League Baseball. He was a non-drafted international free agent. He was merely a rumor to make the rotation midway through spring training. Now he’s beating the defending World Champion Chicago Cubs and putting his name squarely in the discussion for Rookie of the Year honors.
He already grabbed the monthly rookie award in April, but what’s to say he couldn’t finish his rookie year with some hardware as well? He was recently named as the frontrunner for National League Rookie of the Year in this article … just ahead of teammate Kyle Freeland.
"More from Rox PileA Colorado Rockies ThanksgivingColorado Rockies: What if Todd Helton had played football instead?Colorado Rockies: Charlie Blackmon out for the seasonColorado Rockies: Injuries shift look of roster ahead of Dodgers seriesColorado Rockies: Has Sean Bouchard earned a second look in 2023?“There’s a resiliency where he hung in there and got through it, probably not pitching how we’ve seen him overall,” Black said. “That’s going to happen. If a starting pitcher goes out there 33 or 34 times, it’s not going to be easy. It’s not going to be smooth. There is going to be some rocky games. The thing that I like to see is, in those rocky games, you have the ability to get through it by making a pitch here or a play is made there. You get the guy out you need to get out.”"
By beating the Cubs on Tuesday, Senzatela improved to 5-1 on the season. That includes a 3-1 mark with a 3.12 ERA at Coors Field.
If there’s any reservations about pitching at altitude, Senzatela laughs them off with the same smile he flashes in postgame interviews.
"“I make the team. I’m happy for that. I make the rotation. I’m happy. I get to 5-1? That’s pretty good,” the 22-year-old right-hander said."
Does the fact that he’s 5-1 sound real to him?
"“Little bit,” Senzatela laughed."
That’s the attitude he brings to the mound as well. When Trevor Story leaped high to snag a Tommy La Stella liner to lead off the sixth inning on Tuesday, Senzatela’s smile was even bigger than it was postgame.
"“I feel pretty good,” Senzatela said. “The slider was working really good for me tonight and my teammates were making good plays.”"
An effective mix of fastball and slider and the ability to pound the strike zone has resulted in Senzatela logging two earned runs or less in five of his seven starts this season.
"“He’s always competing out there,” Nolan Arenado said of Senzatela. “He doesn’t act like a rookie.”"
With an impressive array of pitches and veteran-like composure, Senzatela may seem way older than his seven MLB starts. If he keeps it up, it won’t just be one rookie award he will have won this season.