In a year that lacked anything to celebrate, Colorado Rockies rookie shortstop Ezequiel Tovar was one of the few bright spots for the club in 2023. Tovar's excellence on the field was recognized by the MLB as he was nominated as a gold glove finalist just a week ago.
While he's up against some excellent big-name shortstops like, Dansby Swanson and Francisco Lindor from the New York Mets, there are a few reasons to believe that Tovar may actually have a shot at winning the hardware.
Let's take a look at his season in the field and, while a long shot, why he could win the award.
Tovar's glove at short was world class in 2023, posting a .988 fielding percentage, first among the Gold Glove finalists and second in all the league only Geraldo Perdomo, who played 36 fewer games that ET. This percentage was also the best ever from a rookie shortstop.
Tovar fielded 578 chances at short this year which was good for 4th in the big leagues. With only seven errors all year, four less than both Swanson and Lindor, his fielding percentage comes in at .007 better than both of his fellow award finalists.
Defense and dWAR
Tovar posted an 18.5 FanGraphs' Defense rating in 2023. The Defense statistic is complicated but is meant to attempt to categorize a player's overall defense compared to the league average into a single number. Like all statistics it is not perfect, but it does give us a general sense of a player's overall defensive prowess.
Tovar's 2023 number is also second among National League rookies only to fellow Rockie Brenton Doyle and second to Dansby Swanson among all National League shortstops.
The 2nd all-in-one metric that shows how impressive Tovar's 2023 was dWAR. This is your typical WAR but for defensive metrics only. Tovar posted a 2.2 dWAR this year, 2nd only behind Swanson for NL shortstops. ET's year also qualified as the 2nd best ever for a Rockies' rookie shortstop behind Troy Tulowitzski's outrageous 3.9 in 2007.
Tovar's 2.2 posting this year was so impressive, that it is tied for 10th among all rookie seasons in the expansion era (since 1961).