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Ezequiel Tovar

Early sacrifices define the Rockies’ Ezequiel Tovar

Ezequiel Tovar makes strong All-Star case

HOUSTON – Ezequiel Tovar was always determined to step onto a big league field. Tovar picked up a baseball and started playing catch at six years old. The Colorado Rockies’ young infielder started to develop and continuously practice on the field in his neighborhood in Venezuela. 

Tovar was a perfect player for the Roberto Vahlis Academy, where players work on discipline, consistency, and the love for the game. The Roberto Vahlis Academy is located in Margarita, Venezuela. Tovar’s hometown of Maracay, 373 miles away from the island.

On the academy website there’s a quote that states “Donde tus sueños se hacen realidad.” In English, the sentence translates to “Where your dreams come true.” Ezequiel Tovar began chasing those dreams in earnest at 12 years old.

“The biggest sacrifice is being away from your family,” Tovar said. “It was a long way from home. I left my home when I was 12 years old to go to the academy. Being away from my family was a big sacrifice.”

Ezequiel Tovar chased dreams early

The hard work displayed at the academy helped Tovar sign with the Rockies as an international free agent in 2017. The middle infielder quickly progressed through the Rockies’ farm system. Tovar was promoted annually. In 2022, he started the season in Class AA with the Hartford Yard Goats. Later, he was promoted to the Rockies’ Class AAA affiliate, Albuquerque Isotopes. 

After five games with the Isotopes, Tovar got the call to the big leagues. At 20, he became the youngest prospect to be promoted from Class AAA in Rockies history. Tovar continued to make more history in his first full season as a major leaguer. 


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The 22-year-old slugger became the youngest Rockie to start on Opening Day in 2023. Moreover, Tovar recorded a .988 fielding percentage with 392 assists, 179 putouts, and only seven errors.

Tovar’s .988 fielding percentage is the highest in Rockies history among shortstops with at least 200 games played. The rising star broke former Rockies’ shortstop and two-time Gold Glove winner Troy Tulowitzki’s .987 fielding percentage set in 2007. 

Tovar was named a National League finalist for the 2023 Rawlings Gold Glove award at shortstop. The prestigious award is given out to the best defender at their position. Unfortunately for Tovar, Chicago Cubs shortstop Dansby Swanson won the award.

Defensive excellence

Some players would be upset about failing to win the Gold Glove. Tovar centers his focus on the present, though.

“The only motivation is to try and make every play, especially for the pitchers,” he said. “They’re out there working hard trying to get outs. That’s my job. I just have to go out there and make every play. That’s what motivates me.”

Tovar signed a seven-year, $63.5 million contract extension with the Rockies before this season. The contract includes a club option for 2031, which could increase the deal to $84 million.

It’s hard for players to negotiate contracts during the season. More likely, rare. Major league players usually discuss contract extensions or a new contract before or after the season.

“Extremely happy and grateful to be here for 7-8 years with the same team,” Tovar said of his contract. “I’m grateful for the Rockies for giving me that opportunity. I feel more relaxed being able to go out there and do what I do best.”

‘Arepa Power’

After a slow offensive start to the season, Tovar has exhibited his Arepa Power. Tovar ranks first in doubles (24), total bases (158), and hits (94) among NL shortstops. Moreover, he’s second in slugging (.287) and third in batting average (.287).

His defense continues to shine through the diamond. Tovar’s .989 fielding percentage is the second-best among major league shortstops. He’s only made four errors with 354 total chances, the most chances among all shortstops.

“People forget he’s 22,” Rockies third baseman Ryan McMahon said of Tovar. “He plays the game like a grown man, and it’s an honor to play next to him. The guy shows up everyday. Same guy that’s ready to go. Like I said, the guy plays like a 10-year veteran, not like a second year kid.”

Tovar currently ranks ninth among NL shortstops with 152,226 votes for the 2024 MLB All-Star Game. Nonetheless, the way his defense is trending, Tovar has a strong opportunity to earn his first Gold Glove in his young career.

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