Zac Veen, Rockies’ top prospect, flashing star power in Arizona Fall League


Zac Veen’s audaciousness has made him a star in the Arizona Fall League.

A snapshot: In an early AFL game, the Rockies’ No. 1 prospect ran hard out of the box after drawing a walk, knowing that ball four had left the catcher scrambling. As Veen rounded first base, he saw that the pitch got past the catcher, so he gunned his engine and wound up at second base, easily beating the throw.

“I don’t use hyperbole, but I’ve got to say, I haven’t seen a kid play like this in a long time,” said Warren Schaeffer, the manager for Triple-A Albuquerque who’s currently managing the AFL’s Salt River Rafters. “Zac Veen plays with this audacity that you love to see; he’s not scared of anything.”

Entering the weekend Veen, a 20-year old outfielder, had swiped 14 bases in 16 attempts. The left-handed hitter had slashed .377/.480/.475 with one home run and three doubles in 16 games. On Friday, he and fellow Rockies prospect Grant Lavigne were selected to play in Sunday’s Fall Stars Game.

Although the 6-foot-4, 190-pounder has not shown a ton of power this fall, Veen impacts games. He’s not a speed burner but he’s smart on the bases and knows when to choose his spots.

“I have a number of friends who are coaches in the fall league,” Rockies farm director Chris Forbes said. “They’ll call me up and say, ‘We just played Veen again. He’s such a pest.’ When Zac gets on he’s always trying to make something happen.’ ”

Indeed, Veen might be Colorado’s most exciting AFL performer since Nolan Arenado in 2011. At age 20, Arenado was named AFL MVP but spent the 2012 season at Double-A Tulsa and played 18 games at Triple-A Colorado Springs in 2013 before making his Rockies debut on April 28.

Forbes said that Veen will likely begin the 2023 season at Double-A Hartford, where he finished up the 2022 season. There is a lot of work to be done to make it to Coors Field. The Rockies are hoping Veen can add some muscle and hit for more power in the future — Schaeffer foresees 25 home runs in the majors — and Veen needs to work on his skills as an outfielder.

Veen, however, is shooting to make his major-league debut in ’23.

“That’s something that is out of my control but I feel I’ll be ready,” Veen said in a phone interview from Scottsdale. “I feel like a lot of the stuff that I went through has put me in a spot where I’m ready to go out there and start my career.”

Veen’s self-confidence is music to Forbes’ ears.


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