The Fresno Grizzlies, the Low-A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies, have been in the news plenty in recent days. After all, the Grizzles entered Friday night with a 47-22 record, the best in all of Low-A West, and are coming off an 11-game winning streak.
There are plenty of reasons why the Grizzles are leading their division, including outfielder Zac Veen, who was named by Minor League Baseball as the Low-A West’s Player of the Week for July 12-18. During the week prior to his honor, Veen went 12-for-18 (.667) with five home runs, 14 RBI, and scored 12 runs.
As Colorado’s top prospect, Veen is drawing plenty of attention. We talked with him, his teammates Grant Lavigne, Drew Romo, and Colin Simpson, as well as Fresno’s manager Robinson Cancel, recently about Fresno’s success. Check out their comments in this podcast.
But let’s talk about Colorado Rockies prospect Ezequiel Tovar and a big compliment we recently heard about him
However, there’s another big reason for Fresno’s success, and that is shortstop Ezequiel Tovar. Currently ranked 19th among Rockies prospects, Tovar entered Friday tied with Veen for the Fresno lead in home runs with 10 on the season. He also leads Fresno with two walkoff winning hits as part of his .313 batting average and 50 RBI on the season.
Tovar has made his impact felt in Low-A and is making a name for himself in the Rockies organization. Click on his bio on the Rockies prospect page and you’ll read the following:
“…according to some in the organization, a defensive wizard. He has the best actions of any infielder in the system, one who makes routine plays as well as highlight-reel ones. He has a consistently plus arm that he doesn’t feel he has to show off all the time. Though he’ll see time around the infield, there’s no question he can stay at the premium position for a very long time, even if he settles into being more of an average runner.”
When Colorado’s top 2021 draft picks were recently introduced to the media at Coors Field, Marc Gustafson, Colorado’s senior director of scouting operations, was asked about drafting strategies for the Rockies in recent drafts. During the conversation, Gustafson paid a big compliment to Tovar and showed just how much the organization thinks about him and his future.
“We’ve got a young man and shortstop in Tovar, and this guy is a complete stud,” Gustafson gushed to Rox Pile and other media members. “Do we think about that when we get into the third, fourth, fifth round? Yeah, we think about that a little bit because we want to make sure Tovar has at-bats every day. So we might turn our attention somewhere else, but it just depends on what the board looks like as we move through each round.”
In the 2021 draft, the Rockies didn’t take a middle infielder until the 11th round. It was one of just two middle infielders taken by Colorado in this draft (the other coming in the 15th round). Yes, both were shortstops, but it’s clear that a path is being laid out for the 19-year-old Tovar.
While the Rockies may be unclear on what the future holds with current shortstop Trevor Story and if Brendan Rodgers or Alan Trejo will play a big role in the near-term future at the position, keep an eye on what Tovar is doing and how quickly he moves up in the organization.