Rockies 2024 Player Rankings: No. 2 Ezequiel Tovar

Tovar showed elite level defense in 2023, flashing some offensive potential. 2024 could be the year that he puts it all together.
Toronto Blue Jays v Colorado Rockies
Toronto Blue Jays v Colorado Rockies / Dustin Bradford/GettyImages

Selecting the No. 2 player in this year's Rockies player rankings was tough. I am a big fan of Ryan McMahon, and he has the potential to be a three-win player as a solid bat and above average defender. McMahon provides something that the Rockies lack, and that is consistency and dependability. The reason I chose Ezequiel Tovar as my No. 2 overall player, however, is that he presents the Rockies with something that they have lacked for quite some time: elite defense in the middle of the field, as well as a healthy dose of entertainment.

Ezequiel Tovar's elite defense and offensive upside earn him the No. 2 spot in our 2024 Rockies Player Rankings

Let's just start with the strength here, which is Tovar's defense. It is elite! Tovar was a finalist for the Gold Glove award in 2023 after one of the best defensive performances we have seen out of a rookie shortstop in recent years. He was second among all NL shortstops in Defensive Runs Saved with 13, while tying for second among all NL shortstops in Outs Above Average with 16. He has a solid arm, but he isn't forced to use it very often. When he does uncork one, he displays a plus arm, with a max throw of 97.2 mph. Tovar has always graded out well as a defensive shortstop, and he showed the Rockies that they have their shortstop of the future after an impressive 2023 season defensively.

Where the most improvement can take place, which could take Tovar from a defensive minded shortstop to one of the more well-rounded shortstops in baseball, is for him to take some strides forward with the bat. Tovar wasn't bad with the bat in 2023; he still hit .253 with 15 home runs and tied the Rockies' record with 37 doubles. His wRC+ paints the picture of a pretty below average bat, but he was better than what that particular stat depicts.

Tovar has never been a high on base guy, with walk rates regularly in the four-to-eight percent range throughout the minor leagues, but he always hit for a high average (.319 in 2022 and .287 in 2021). He slashed .253/.287/.408 in 2023, showing the lack of walking ability, but the issue (not overly concerning, considering he was 21 years old) was his 27% strikeout rate. He was routinely in the 13% to 21% range in his time in the minor leagues.

2024 could be the season we see a breakout from the 22-year-old. If Tovar can get the batting average up to .270-.280, cut that strikeout rate down into the low-to-mid 20s and draw a few more walks, we could see a completely different hitter. A season in which Tovar posts a .280/.330/.440 slash with 15+ home runs and can steal 15 bases could see him putting up a 3+ win season and battling our next guy for the No. 1 spot (stay tuned tomorrow to see our top-ranked player for 2024).