Should hot prospects like Ezequiel Tovar be called up soon?


Denver Post sports writer Patrick Saunders with the latest installment of his Rockies Mailbag.

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Mr. Saunders, in my opinion, the Rockies should call up (shortstop) Ezequiel Tovar immediately and, most importantly, give him a ton of playing time with the big club. I can see no downside to having him play ASAP and for the remainder of the season.

The Rockies are mediocre, at best, and boring to watch. (Manager) Bud Black’s optimism is getting old, as are the players’ excuses. Maybe Tovar can improve their abysmal defense and add the spark that the 5% of us true Rockies baseball knowledgeable fans deserve. The worst thing they could do is call Tovar up and not play him. He needs to mature by playing every day in the majors or languish playing in the minors. Wondering what you think of my opinion?

— Jerry, Parker 

Jerry, I’m eager to see Tovar play in the majors because I believe he has a legitimate chance to be a special player. That was made clear to me by several people I interviewed in my Sunday profile on Tovar.  And I agree with you that this team lacks pizzaz.

However, I talked to several people, including former Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, about the advantages and disadvantages of calling up a 20-year-old shortstop to the majors direct from Double-A.

Essentially, “Tulo” told me that it takes a special player to make that leap. He was talking about a player’s self-confidence, work ethic, and passion, more than he was talking about baseball talent. Tulo also said it takes the right clubhouse to support a young player. Tulo said he didn’t think the Rockies have that “right clubhouse,” at least not right now. He added that unless the circumstances are just right, calling up a young player is “playing with fire.”

I also talked to some other former Rockies players who follow the team closely. One of them was adamant that calling up Tovar this season would be a big mistake, adding that the Rockies should allow Tovar to thrive at Double-A Hartford and not move him to Triple-A Albuquerque or the majors right now. The environment at Triple-A can be counterproductive for young players.

Here’s my opinion: If Tovar continues to play great baseball at Double-A, the Rockies should look to trade Jose Iglesias sooner rather than later in exchange for prospects. The Rockies can use Garrett Hampson at shortstop and also call up Alan Trejo.

Then, in late August, they should call up Tovar and allow him to get some major-league experience, much like Tulowitzki did at the end of 2006. From everything I’ve been told, Tovar has the right stuff to deal with the adversity that will surely come.