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Rockies Hope Michael Toglia Is Their First Baseman Of The Future



Plus raw power from both sides of the plate and to all fields. That sums up first baseman Michael Toglia, who is 6-foot-5, 226 pounds, but far from one-dimensional.

“You see this big old guy at first base, and you think he’s not going to have the movement, the quickness,” Rockies assistant player development director Jesse Stender said. “But he covers ground.

"With advanced instincts for first base, he gets to balls that you don’t expect him to. And he’s smooth. He's an above-average defender at first base.”

Since first baseman Todd Helton retired in 2013, the Rockies have been seeking a long-term fixture at the position. It very well could be the 23-year-old Toglia, a 2019 first-rounder from UCLA.

His first five hits last year at High-A Spokane were home runs, and eight of his first 13 hits went for extra bases.

In 74 games at Spokane, Toglia hit .234/.333/.465 with 17 homers and a 27.6% strikeout rate. After a promotion to Double-A Hartford, Toglia hit .217/.331/.406 in 41 games with five homers and a 30.2% strikeout rate.

When his swing is compact and on time "the ball absolutely flies off his bat. It sounds like a gunshot," according to Rockies player development director Chris Forbes.

Toglia has shown good pitch recognition but can be too patient at times, which puts him in pitcher's counts. And his recognition of a mistake pitch could be better.

“I think when he’s at his best is when he goes up, and he’s going to fire,” Forbes said. “We saw it in the Futures Game. First pitch—he was not going to wait around.”

That game was at Coors Field. Facing Rangers lefthander Cole Ragans in the third inning, Toglia drove a 92.8 mph sinker 444 feet to left—the longest hit of the game.

“He has an authentic power bat,” Forbes said, “and he’s still chipping away at certain things that are going to make him a little more dynamic.”

ROCKY ROADS

— The Rockies hired Luis Lopez to be their bench coach at Double-A Hartford. A former infielder and native of Puerto Rico, Lopez most recently had been the manager of the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League Tigers from 2018-19. Lopez has also coached in the Red Sox and Braves organizations after playing parts of 11 seasons in the big leagues with the Padres, Mets, Brewers, Orioles and Reds.

Julio Campos will fill a dual role in his 10th season in the Rockies organization. He will scout Puerto Rico as he has in the past, but then report to minor league camp when it starts in early March prior to joining High-A Spokane as the bench coach.

—The Rockies promoted Michael Ramirez to the newly-created position of Latin American hitting coordinator. Now in his sixth season in the organization, Ramirez was one of two hitting coaches last year with the Rookie-level Arizona Complex League Rockies. A native of Venezuela, Ramirez moved his family to Arizona and will be based there. He will spend a considerable amount of time there and in the Dominican Summer League, where he was a coach for one of the Rockies’ two DSL teams from 2017-2019. A former catcher, Ramirez played at every level in the Rockies’ organization from 2007-2014. He began his coaching career as Triple-A Albuquerque’s bullpen catcher, working in that role in 2016-17.

Zac Veen Larrygorenfourseam

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