The Rockies are going to promote shortstop prospect Ezequiel Tovar, according to Daniel Álvarez-Montes of El Extra Base. Tovar is already on the club’s 40-man roster, though the Rockies will need to open a spot for him on the active roster.
Tovar, 21, signed with the Rockies as an international amateur in 2017. He was certainly a notable signing at the time, agreeing to a bonus of $800K, the highest given out by the club that year. But the youngster has increased his stock tremendously in recent years.
Through the end of the 2019 season, he had shown some decent plate discipline but little power. He hit only two long balls over 118 games in rookie ball and A-ball in 2018 and 2019. However, as Baseball America notes in their scouting report on Tovar, he bulked up during the pandemic shutdown in 2020 and has been on a meteoric rise up prospect lists ever since. He began this year in Double-A and played 66 games for the Hartford Yard Goats. In that time, he hit 13 home runs, stole 17 bases and hit .318/.386/.545 for a wRC+ of 153. He was recently promoted to Triple-A but only got into four games before being launched up to the big time.
Tovar already had a strong reputation for his speed, bat-to-ball skills and shortstop defense, which means the development of his power at the plate has the potential to turn him into an all-around superstar. Based on his tremendous breakout, he’s shot up to the #13 slot on Baseball America’s list of top prospects in the league, #28 at MLB Pipeline, #36 at FanGraphs, #25 on Keith Law’s list at The Athletic and #40 at ESPN.
For the Rockies, they have a legitimate opening at shortstop for the first time in a long time. Troy Tulowitzki manned the position from 2006 until his trade in 2015. That was followed by the Trevor Story era, which lasted until he reached free agency just under a year ago. This year, the club signed Jose Iglesias to take over, but only on a one-year deal. He’s been on the IL the past few weeks, with utility player Alan Trejo taking over. Tovar will have the last few weeks of the season to show the Colorado brass how he handles the big leagues, with the possibility of cementing himself as the shortstop of the future. Though the club is well out of contention at this point of the season, the chance to see what Tovar can bring to the table will give Colorado fans something to watch as the season winds down.
If Tovar can indeed earn himself a permanent spot with the big league club, there could be some domino effects. There’s not enough time remaining in the season for Tovar to get to 130 at-bats, meaning he will hang onto rookie/prospect status into the offseason. Under the new collective bargaining agreement, players with less than 60 days of service who appear among two preseason Top 100 lists at Baseball America, ESPN or MLB Pipeline can net their team a bonus amateur draft choice based on their early-career finishes in awards voting, so long as their club carries them on the MLB roster for a full service year. If Tovar can get himself a Rookie of the Year award or some MVP votes during his first couple of full seasons, he could net the club an extra draft pick.
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