At just 21 years of age, Colorado Rockies shortstop Ezequiel Tovar quietly emerged in 2023 as one of the most exciting young players in the National League.

Even a bit overshadowed on his own team by fellow rookies Nolan Jones and Brenton Doyle, who broke out in much flashier ways, Tovar managed to bring a rare and valuable commodity to his team; consistency.

He led the Rockies with 153 games played, slashing .253/.287/.408 with 15 home runs, 73 RBI and 11 stolen bases. His 37 doubles tied Todd Helton for the most by a rookie in franchise history and his 153 games were the second-most behind Troy Tulowitzki.

Among NL rookies, he tied for first in doubles, ranked third in games played, runs, hits, extra-base hits and RBI, and was eighth in home runs.

He also earned a Gold Glove nomination, putting up 13 defensive runs saved, the fourth-most among Major League shortstops, second in the NL behind Dansby Swanson who won the award. His 16 outs above average were tied for the sixth-most among all position players, tied for second among shortstops.

He started off slow, struggling at the plate for the first month but settled in thereafter, though not in a way that the advanced metrics love. Ultimately, he posted a OPS+ of 77 on the year which is well below the league average. But given his age, environment, prospect pedigree, and bat-to-ball skills, it’s easy to see a path toward tremendous improvement in this regard. Consider that Nolan Arenado posted an OPS+ of 81 his rookie year. And Arenado was older. 

All together, Tovar put up 2.5 wins above replacement on Baseball Reference, sixth best among NL rookies. Remember, he is nearly four years younger than Nolan Jones. 

Because of his combination of raw skills, elite defense, above average speed, and projectable bat that is already showing signs that it can more resemble the type of excellent numbers he put up in the minors, actually has Tovar listed as the single most valuable member of Colorado’s MLB roster.

So, the Rockies have a Gold Glove caliber shortstop who, after a full year of gaining experience, will enter next season as still one of the youngest players in the league…with some of the highest potential.

Alongside Jones and Doyle, Ezequiel Tovar represents the best hope for Colorado Rockies fans and a brighter future.