The second coming of Todd Helton? Rockies rookie Michael Toglia isn’t there yet. But his glove game against Milwaukee was awfully close.
The glove? The glove is almost there.
Michael Toglia’s most Todd Helton-esque moment came at the top of the second inning Monday at Coors Field, on a ball that left Jace Peterson’s bat the same way the Funny Cars leave the line at Bandimere.
As Rockies rookie first baseman Toglia held Milwaukee’s Kolten Wong to the sack, Wong’s teammate Peterson fired a two-out screamer — out speed: 101 mph — just on the noggin of Toglia.
It was the kind of bullet that sends 98% of the free world to reconstructive nose surgery. Toglia followed the throw stitches, spun around and swept him coldly into the air, like a the matador sweeps his muleta.
“It was pure reaction,” the Rockies first baseman said after Monday’s 6-4 loss. “It’s either, you catch it or you knock it out of the teeth.”
With that, Toglia smiled. Every chiclet was clean and accounted for.
“The last 24 hours he hasn’t even had time to think,” Toglia’s girlfriend Jenna Nastrini told me on Monday as her boyfriend warmed up at the circle on the deck downstairs in the sixth.
“I think (Monday night) will be his first moment of digestion. Hopefully (we will) get some food, get some sleep and have a good fun night (Tuesday).
Let the kid rest before you start comparing him to Todd Helton, you know?
Rockies general manager Bill Schmidt set the bar last March when he compared Toglia, the Rockies’ first-round pick at UCLA in 2109, to Helton, the first first baseman in club history. , the franchise’s gold standard.
“He should remind you of someone,” Schmidt told The Post’s Patrick Saunders.
If Toglia’s debut at Coors Field was any harbinger, the bat still has a ways to go to catch that particular person.
The 24-year-old tied the first inning to keep the line moving against Brewers starter Adrian Houser, helping the hosts take a 3-0 lead before the start of the second.
Results were mixed after that, as Toglia, who hit the switch, who hit the fifth, was stranded short in the third, retired the search in the sixth and flew deep right into the top of the eighth as the potential tie race.
“Triple-A throwing, Double-A throwing, is very different from the big leagues,” manager Bud Black said of the rookie. “And he is finding out.
“But he’s competitive, which I liked. He has a good head on his shoulders. »
And to be fair, that same head has been spinning for much of the past 10 days or so. Nastrini said Toglia and his family thought they would likely finish the season at the Rockies’ Triple-A affiliate in Albuquerque, where he was hitting everything in sight, so the call to the big club on Aug. 30 came as a happy shock. . For everyone.
“It was crazy. I mean, all the nerves went out in Atlanta (when it debuted Aug. 30),” Nastrini recalled. “We were crying. We were laughing. We were sweating. It was just chaos all week.
Jenna, who lives in Southern California, got a little Front Range teaser last week as she landed for a layover at DIA en route to Atlanta. She remembers scouring the halls, unsuccessfully trying to find Rocky Mountain stuff to take to the Braves’ Truist Field, before the second leg of her flight.
“I was sleep deprived,” she laughed, “and I yelled at the person at the airport, ‘Do you hate baseball? Why aren’t there any (memories of the Rockies)?”
Labor Day was… calmer.
“(Toglia) texted me when I arrived (this morning), and he said, ‘I’m home. So it was a long time coming. He feels confident. He is so excited to come and play here. He feels at home here, being in the clubhouse and with all the staff.
The staff could be a bit shaky on some details, though. When Toglia’s biography first appeared on the Coors Field scoreboard, it announced that he made his MLB debut on June 7, 2011. At the age of 12.
Apparently, the rookie wasn’t the only one who was able to use a little more rest ahead of Monday.
“Give me a normal night (close my eyes) to get to game night (Tuesday) and we’ll be ready,” said Toglia, who is hitting 6 for 24 (.250) in his first preview of The Show. “We will be ready for this stretch.”
Even though the rookie lost the match, he still won the race. In the top of the sixth, with two out and the Rockies trailing 6-3, the first baseman lined up a string on the line through the Brewers’ Garrett Mitchell – Toglia’s former UCLA teammate.
The rookie in the sprint beat his buddy in the sack for the final. If you’re wondering why that’s a big deal, Mitchell has gone 34-for-36 on stolen bases in his last 132 minor league appearances.
“All those years of racing against each other,” Toglia said with a laugh. “So I guess that means I’m faster.”
Spoiler alert: it is not.
“I know,” Toglia said, beaming again. “But I took a hit from him.”
Imagine what he could do after a little sleep.