Colorado Rockies notebook: Ezequiel Tovar “going to learn” as shortstop
By Kevin Henry
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The moment that it became clear that the Colorado Rockies and All-Star shortstop Trevor Story would be parting ways before the 2022 campaign, fans began to look at just who might be the heir apparent at the position. It didn’t take long for those same fans to wonder just how soon prospect Ezequiel Tovar might be a part of the Colorado infield.
However, while Ezequiel Tovar might be the shortstop of the future for the Colorado Rockies, the key word is future, as in seasons (yes, multiple) from now.
Ezequiel Tovar enters the 2022 season as 11th-ranked prospect for the Colorado Rockies, according to MLB.com. That same system also projects that Tovar will make his MLB debut during the 2023 campaign. For a 20-year-old player who started the season at Low-A Fresno before finishing the season at High-A Spokane, there is still plenty of work to do before he’s ready to step onto the field at 20th and Blake.
“I think all the superlatives that you’d put on a player at times is unfair until you really see it,” Colorado manager Bud Black said. “He was in A-ball last year, right? I think it’s more fair to the player to hold judgment. Let’s wait and see, but I’ve heard nothing but great things about the defense.”
Tovar has also earned plenty of praise and accolades early in his career, including kudos as one of Colorado’s organizational All-Stars following a rookie season where he slashed a combined .287/.322/.475 with 72 RBI and added 24 stolen bases in 104 games. He’s also been named as the best defender among all Colorado minor leaguers.
The build-up is certainly there. Now it’s about taking that next step, which will mean continuing to move through the Colorado minor league stops and learning at each new level. Rockies fans in Arizona might get glimpses of exactly what Tovar can do on the infield as well early in the spring training schedule.
“The exit velocity off a big league bat versus an A-ball bat is harder, so the ball comes off the bat faster. That means the reaction time has to be there,” Black said. “In a lot of cases, the speed of a Major League baserunner is different than the speed of a guy in the minors. It’s just different when a guy like (Fernando) Tatis (Jr.) hits the ball and is running to first.
“You hear about the timing clock of the infielder, and I think he (Tovar) has that. He’s going to learn. He might even play Thursday (Colorado’s spring training opener against the Arizona Diamondbacks).”
New guy in town
New Rockies pitcher Chad Kuhl took his place inside the Colorado clubhouse on Tuesday and was expected to meet with the media for the first time before Wednesday’s workouts.
With the new players on the roster, there are new numbers for Rockies fans to know as well.
Kuhl is set to wear number 41, while new shortstop José Iglesias will don number 11 and relief pitcher Alex Colomé will wear number 37.