Tovar mirroring this former Rockie in ASG bid

June 17th, 2024

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DENVER -- Rockies second-year shortstop ’s All-Star Game campaign is like his offensive game -- in full swing, even though he doesn’t show up in the top five at his position in the National League in the first balloting update.

Tovar, 22, enters Monday night’s opener of four games against Los Angeles with eight games of three or more hits, tied with the Dodgers' Mookie Betts (who sustained a fractured left hand on Sunday) and the Padres' Luis Arraez. Tovar is also tied with the Braves’ Marcell Ozuna for second in the NL in extra-base hits with 35, trailing only the Dodgers’ Shohei Ohtani (39).

Tovar’s 22 doubles are second in the NL, and his .290 batting average is 10th in the league. With the glove, Tovar’s six Defensive Runs Saved (per FanGraphs) and his eight Outs Above Average are tied for most among NL shortstops.

But let’s go beyond this year’s vote and see how Tovar compares to Rockies history:

The Rockies have enjoyed a tradition of star power at shortstop from their expansion year of 1993. Troy Tulowitzki (2006-15) is considered the standard bearer.

So how does the beginning of Tovar’s career compare to Tulowitzki’s based on offensive statistics? Tovar enters Monday with 232 games played, so here is a comparison to Tulowitzki through the same number of games:

Batting average: Tovar .264, Tulowitzki .273
On-base percentage: Tovar .296, Tulowitzki .342
Slugging percentage: Tovar .432, Tulowitzki .432
Home runs: Tovar 27, Tulowitzki 28
Doubles: Tovar 60, Tulowitzki 50
Triples: Tovar six, Tulowitzki five

Tulowitzki had a decided edge in discipline in the batter’s box, but Tovar has virtually been his equal in impact with the hits. They even, at least briefly, shared a jersey number. Tulowitzki wore No. 14 when he was called up in 2006, before switching to his preferred No. 2, while Tovar is 14 all the way.

There are differences. Tulowitzki was a little older (23 years and 298 days old) than Tovar (22 years and 321 days) through 232 games. Also, Tulowitzki went to the World Series in 2007, while Tovar is a leader of a much less-accomplished team.

Who knows if Tovar can match Tulowitzki, but he is off to a nice start. Injuries shortened Tulowitzki’s career, but his prime years should at least draw Hall of Fame consideration. Tovar is in the first year of a seven-year, $63.5 million guaranteed contract, and he will have a chance to write his story.

It won’t be easy. But if Tovar’s career continues its current arc, All-Star consideration should come. The first of Tulowitzki’s five All-Star trips didn’t come until 2010.