Healthy Veen 'staying grateful and having fun'

May 13th, 2024

This story was excerpted from Thomas Harding’s Rockies Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

DENVER -- Double-A Hartford outfielder Zac Veen’s path to his current lofty positions -- the leading hitter in the Eastern League and the No. 93 spot on MLB Pipeline's Top 100 Prospects list -- began by fixing the problem that robbed him of prospect status in the first place.

Veen -- who is also No. 6 on the Rockies' Top 30 Prospects list -- went almost a calendar year compromised because of a left wrist tendon injury. When he underwent surgery on June 22, the stat sheet showed a .209 batting average and two home runs in 46 games with Hartford, but Veen’s mind and heart saw it as a new beginning.

“I’d say when I had the surgery, that was when I felt I was going to be back to doing my thing,” Veen, 22, said.

Through 26 games this season, Veen is slashing .341/.434/.593 with five home runs and 12 RBIs. He has nine stolen bases in 10 attempts. He is also second in the league in on-base percentage and OPS (1.027).

Veen was invited to his second Major League camp in 2024. Both times, he swung with a level of aggression that’s unsustainable for a regular season, but he and his coaches worked on getting to know one another and coming up with a plan. Veen's numbers with Hartford show that he learned his boundaries but didn’t lose his gung-ho approach.

“I’m trying to compete every at-bat and trying to get my pitch,” Veen said. “If I’m swinging at strikes and taking balls, I’m in a good spot.”

Veen, a first-round Draft pick in 2020, began last season at No. 27 on the MLB Pipeline Top 100 list, so gaining notice again is no surprise. But he is more focused on enjoying where he is.

“I’m happy I’m playing again -- staying grateful and having fun,” Veen said.