Mired in their fourth straight losing season, the Colorado Rockies have tested the patience of their fans in recent years. A huge payday to Kris Bryant in the off-season has kicked-off to a truly terrible start, they’re pacing for one of the worst road records in franchise history and the offense has been generally anemic, especially by Coors Field standards.
But while the product on the field of 20th and Blake has shown little to no improvement, there has been progress behind the scenes.
It started with the Fresno Grizzlies’ 2021 roster, featuring top prospects Drew Romo, Ezequiel Tovar and Zac Veen. While Romo and Veen stuck around for playoff-push in Fresno that season, Tovar jumped up to High-A Spokane in August despite being nearly four years younger than the league average and has been rising ever since.
A new core has started to form, and with each passing game the Colorado Rockies’ dreams have gotten closer to becoming reality. José Iglesias was already signed-on as a place-holder at shortstop — a position that has been filled by homegrown products for a very long time — but the plan was clear: Tovar was the future of the position and the front office wasn’t afraid to admit it.
Becoming the next great homegrown shortstop are lofty expectations being placed on “Tovi”, but so far he seems confident in his abilities to handle it: “Oh no, no pressure at all. I just want to go out there and be the best version of myself and go out there and play as best as I can.”
He isn’t the only farmhand General Manager Bill Schmidt has sung praise of this year. Former first-round pick Michael Toglia had been discussed at length as he climbed through the upper-levels of the minors. Schmidt even went so far as to mention him in the same breath as Colorado legend Todd Helton.
Toglia got the call and made his debut at the end of August. And now, so has Tovar, going 2-for-4 in his first taste of the big leagues on Friday.
Ezequiel Tovar— RoxGifsVids (@RoxGifsVids) September 24, 2022
First Major League AB
First Major League hit pic.twitter.com/EsBrq2eRJ8
Tovar’s arrival is important for a number of reasons, most notable being the opportunity earned in his development.
While there is still refinement needed in his game – mainly in his plate discipline and pitch selection – his defense has been big-league ready for some time now and the progress he has made with the bat is truly remarkable. So remarkable, in fact, that he is now the youngest position player in franchise history.
“Every baseball player’s dream is to be a big leaguer. So that’s definitely a dream achieved and accomplished. But it’s a lot to take in, at the moment.” said Tovar when asked about his first taste of the majors.
His arrival also signifies a change in expectations. There will be bumps in the road for Tovar the player, and he will be given a chance to learn on the job as any late-season prospect call-up should. But those learning experiences are being done in low-leverage situations, free of major consequences when the hiccups occur.
This safety net, for both he and Toglia, is to help prepare them for success when the opportunity for the winning moments arrives. And that’s what the Rockies brand has been selling in recent seasons; the promise of better days ahead.
The organization has floundered in their attempts to dig out of a deeply-rooted apathy in the fan base ever since the Nolan Arenado trade became official. And, no matter how tired you may be of hearing about it, that saga is what still defines the organization.
But now there is Toglia and Tovar, present and accounted for. Behind them are Veen and Romo with Benny Montgomery and the Fresno Grizzlies core riding up from the horizon. It’s a legitimate crop of prospects that has earned the franchise a noticeable bump in prospect circles and started to generate genuine enthusiasm again from the fan base.
They are still years away from truly competing, though. Likely not until 2024, at the earliest. And the front office still has work to do padding this emerging core with better surrounding talent, the playoff years of 2018 and 2019 were lesson in that. But seeing Ezequiel Tovar and Michael Toglia take the field is a start…a pretty good start for a franchise that has shown little progress in recent years.
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Pujols joins 700 home run club with pair of HRs | MLB
It was a historic night in Los Angeles as Albert Pujols hit two home runs to become the fourth player in baseball history to hit 700 home runs, joining Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714). The first homer came in the third inning of Andrew Heaney, the milestone second in the fourth off Phil Bickford. Pujols joins Aaron as the only players with 3,000 hits and 700 home runs in their career.
The moment Albert Pujols joined the 700 Home Run Club!— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) September 24, 2022
Rockies starter Antonio Senzatela coming to grips with ACL injury: “It’s part of life” | Denver Post
Mike Singer chats with Antonio Senzatela, who is rehabbing from the ACL tear in his left knee on August 18th. Although Senzatela is feeling better and walking, he still has a long way to go in his 8-to-10 month rehab schedule and still cannot do any baseball activities involving his lower-half. It was a sour note to end a tough season on, and Senzatela knows it. “Each month, something happened to me,” he said. “… It’s a bad year.”
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On The Farm
Triple-A: Sugar Land Space Cowboys 6, Albuquerque Isotopes 4
The Isotopes were put in a hole early as the Space Cowboys scratched out four runs of starter Logan Allen in the first inning, three coming home on one swing by catching prospect Korey Lee. Allen would settle in, posting zeroes for the next four innings while receiving offense support in the form of run-scoring singles by Carlos Perez and Jonathon Morales in a three-run fifth. But, Lee struck again, taking Allen deep for a second time in the sixth and putting Albuquerque behind for good. Brenton Doyle continued his strong Triple-A showing in the loss, registering three hits and his second triple in as many games.
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