Isotopes first baseman, Michael Toglia points to the sky as he rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run against the Reno Aces Tuesday at Isotopes Park in his Triple-A debut. (Mike Sandoval/For the Journal)
The Albuquerque Isotopes on Tuesday welcomed the call-ups of two former Colorado Rockies first-round draft picks – 2016’s No. 4 overall pick Riley Pint and 2019’s No. 23 overall pick Michael Toglia.
And if pitching doesn’t eventually work out for the former, Pint just might just have a future in scouting.
Asked before Tuesday’s game what fans were about to see in Toglia, Pint’s teammate all season at Double-A Hartford (the two arrived in Albuquerque together late Monday night), he had a quick answer.
“They’re gonna see a guy that can really hit the ball far,” Pint said.
Pint set it up.
Toglia knocked it down. Or out.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, the 6-foot-5, 226-pound Toglia crushed a 1-2 pitch off Diamondbacks prospect Brandon Pfaadt 448 feet over the center-field wall with a game-best 109.1 mph exit velocity off the bat .
That homer helped the Isotopes beat Reno 4-3 to open the six-game home stand.
Pint, a relief pitcher, didn’t play Tuesday, but Toglia started at first base and was 2-for-4 with the homer.
Hitting home runs probably shouldn’t come as a huge surprise for those following Toglia this season. The former UCLA Bruin, who turns 24 next week, had already hit 23 home runs this season, setting by the first week of August a single-season record for Hartford, breaking the mark of 22 set last year by Elehuris Montero, who is now with the Rockies after having played 65 games with the Isotopes this season.
Toglia also hit a two-run home run in the 2021 Futures game played in Denver on MLB’s All-Star Weekend.
But what Isotopes fans may also be happy to see from Toglia, according to both Pint and Isotopes manager Warren Schaeffer, is some elite-level defense.
“I think he’s a Gold Glove-caliber defender,” said Schaeffer.
Added Pint, “I tell him this all the time, but he’s probably one of the best defensive first basemen I’ve ever played with. I mean, he always tells me, ‘You don’t ever want to notice a first baseman.’ But when there’s a guy like him, you’re gonna notice him every time. He just makes every play – routine plays, hard plays, he makes them all.”
Isotope’s first baseman, Michael Toglia (right) awaits the throw from pitcher Riley Smith to record an out against the Reno Aces on Tuesday. Toglila has a reputation as a plus-defender, but he also hit a long home run in his Triple-A debut. (Mike Sandoval/For the Journal)
As for Toglia, who wasn’t seen without a smile on his face all day Tuesday – from pregame batting practice and infield work through the ninth-inning victory handshake line on the field – getting the call up to Albuquerque was a “surreal” experience , he said, even if it wasn’t exactly a surprise to anyone who followed his progress this season.
“I think when you look at my overall splits (at Hartford), and saw them trending in the right direction as far as discipline goes and hard contact quality, that was all heading in the right direction,” Toglia said. “I did that for a long period of time that they (decided) it was time for movement.”
Toglia noted he was excited to get the call up to Albuquerque now since the Isotopes play a series next week in his hometown of Tacoma, Wash., and on his birthday.
BRUINS REUNION: Toglia was a teammate at UCLA with fellow Isotope Sean Bouchard, who also homered in Tuesday’s game. They were also Bruins teammates with Rockies pitcher Jake Bird, who played 22 games this season with the Isotopes before the Denver call-up.
RAIN: Tuesday’s game had a rain delay before first pitch of 1 hour, 2 minutes. To make up for it, the teams decided to complete the game in a hurry.
The game time of 2 hours, 4 minutes (after the 7:37 first pitch), was the fastest-played nine-inning game of the season for the Isotopes and third fastest nine-inning game ever played at Isotopes Park.
LIFE OF RILEY: Tuesday’s Isotopes starter Riley Smith was the scheduled starter for Sunday’s game in El Paso – a game the teams waited 2 hours, 20 minutes to play before it was determined it would not be started due to rain and wet field conditions.
Smith had to stay warm and ready through another 62 minutes of delay Tuesday.
Still, he pitched well, going six innings, allowing eight hits, two earned runs and striking out four in the no-decision.
‘TOPES WEDNESDAY: Vs. Reno, 6:35 pm, Isotopes Park, 610 AM/95.9 FM
PROBLEMS: Aces TBA vs. Isotopes RHP Ashton Goudeau (0-5, 10.46)
TUESDAY: The Isotopes hit four solo home runs and beat Reno 4-3 to open a six-game home standing in front of an announced Isotopes Park crowd of 7,002.
Albuquerque first baseman Mike Toglia hit a 448-foot homer in his Triple-A debut after being called up from Double-A Hartford.
Teammates Sean Bouchard, Alan Trejo and Carlos Montes also had bases-empty home runs in the victory.
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Reno out-hit Albuquerque 9-8 and drew five walks, but left eight on base.
Justin Lawrence pitched a scoreless ninth for his first save of the season for the Isotopes.
BOX SCORE: Isotopes 4, Aces 3
STANDINGS: Pacific Coast League
TRANSACTIONS: Toglia and RHP Riley Pint, two former first-round picks, were called up to Albuquerque on Tuesday. The Isotopes also added RHP Joel Pegruero, most recently at Triple-A Durham, and released RHP Heath Holder.