How Todd Helton is helping Rockies prospect Michael Toglia fulfill his potential



For the Rockies’ first baseman of the future to realize his potential, he’s tapping into the club’s great first baseman of the past.

The partnership began in spring training this year when Michael Toglia headed to a back field at Salt River to work on the intricacies of playing first base with Todd Helton, who re-joined the club as a special assistant. In those early-morning sessions, Toglia put on Helton’s mini-glove, and the bond between Rockies past and Rockies future began where no one was watching.

“He would throw me a bunch of picks and I would train with his mini-glove, and we’d talk about the game, how we approach it,” Toglia said. “We immediately bonded over the fact that we played first base, we took a lot of pride in our defense. We established a strong connection through (those back-field sessions), and throughout the year he’s come out to Hartford and we’ve been able to build our relationship even more. We talk hitting and defense and the mental side of baseball.”

Toglia, 23, is slashing .209/.316/.421 with 15 home runs and 47 RBIs through 75 games for Double-A Hartford. The 6-foot-5, 245-pound switch-hitter is tracking to make his major league debut in the next year or two if he improves at the plate. Helton sees a potential Gold Glove talent who has “great hands” around the bag.

“He still needs to work on his lower half, getting his feet in tune with his upper body (defensively),” Helton said. “But other than that, he can really field the baseball. He works hard at it. He can use some work at the plate, but there is really nothing big he needs to work on defensively.”

Helton, Colorado’s all-time leader in doubles (592) and home runs (369), is attempting to pass on the knowledge that made him a Hall of Fame-caliber gap hitter with power — much like the hitter Toglia hopes to become. Helton describes his role as “an evaluator and a part-time teacher,” and he travels once a month, usually spending about a week with a Colorado minor league affiliate.



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