We've already gushed over Nolan Jones' rookie season, and rightfully so, as he is having a great first campaign at the plate and in the field. Let's not forget about the Rockies' 21-year-old shortstop, Ezequiel Tovar, as he is also having an excellent rookie year.
While it's unlikely that Tovar will win Rookie of the Year, his season has been good enough that it warrants comparison to some of the best rookie seasons in franchise history.
Where does he fit in among the Rockies' all-time shortstop rookie seasons? Let's find out.
1. Ezequiel Tovar
While there are still a few weeks to go in the 2023 season, we can already unequivocally say that Tovar has had a top tier rookie season. But wait, where is Clint Barmes? Didn't he have a good rookie year, too? Yes, he did, but with Tovar having only slightly lower bWAR and being consistent over a larger swatch of games, we'll call his the 3rd best above Barmes.
2023 has been impressive for Tovar to say the least, especially defensively.
Offensively he's been below average when it comes to his 80 OPS+ and .257/.291/.415 slash line. As of September 22, he has hit 15 home runs and knocked in 73 runs while tallying 141 hits and scoring 76 runs, all of which are very respectable for his first year. He does strike out far too much and does not walk enough, but that should improve as he gets more experience at the plate.
Back to his defense, though, which is where he really shines. Not only is Tovar one of the best shortstop rookie defenders in the league, he's one of the best defenders at any position in the league, period.
Salary average annual value 😉
And while Baseball Reference has him at a lower t11th place in dWAR, having a top defensive year as a rookie is still incredible. If we filter that down to only rookies, he's t2nd for rookie dWAR behind New York Yankee Anthony Volpe.
Perhaps you require video evidence that his defense his good?
All in all, Tovar has had a great rookie season and comes in at #3 in our list. I can't wait to see what he does next year.