Prospect Review – Nolan Arenado


Next up on the prospect review list is a third baseman in the Rockies’ system, Nolan Arenado.

The Basics
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
How Acquired: Drafted by the Colorado Rockies  out of El Toro HS (San Diego) in the 2nd round of the 2009 amateur draft
Age as of 4/1/11: 19

Scouting Reports and Statistics
The Baseball Cube

Tm Lg Lev G AB R HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG
Asheville SALL A 92 373 45 12 65 1 19 52 .308 .338 .520
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/13/2011.

Prospect Ranks

Hardball Times: Rankings Not Released Yet
Deep Leagues: #6 (Third Basemen– 2011), #105 (Overall – 2011)
Bullpen Banter: #9 (Third Basemen – 11/2010)
Baseball America: #2 (South Atlantic League – 10/2010)
John Sickels: #1 (COL – 2011) B+
Baseball Prospectus: Rankings Not Released Yet
Top Prospect Alert: #3 (COL – 2011)

Analysis

Arenado was drafted out of high school in 2009, where he had played catcher and shortstop primarily.  He received a bonus of $625 K for signing, and signed soon enough to play in 54 games in his 2009 season. He showed decent power in his stay in rookie ball that year, slugging 15 doubles and 2 home runs in those 54 games.  But his best performance to date is clearly his 2010 season.

Arenado spent all of 2010 in the Sally League, and put up even better power all year long. He slugged .520, with an isolaTed Power of .212. Throw in 41 doubles to go with the 12 home runs, and you’re really looking at some excellent raw power. The doubles total was good for 2nd in the league for the season, despite playing in 43 less games than the leader, and also being 4 years younger.

Mike Newman over at Scouting the Sally had this to say about him in August:

From a scouting standpoint, Arenado is one of the top-three hitters in the league.  He has a rare combination of elite contact skills and power projection which may allow him to hit for both average and power.  Arenado has little physical projection left and is not a particularly good athlete, but the bat plays and that’s what matters most in fantasy baseball.

 You can read his other scouting report here as well.

His plate discipline doesn’t appear to be amazing, but his strikeout rate was only at 14%, which seems low for a player with his power. I would like to see him draw more walks, but I am actually not too concerned about it for him.

In terms of his fielding, it appears that he may be lucky to be league average at best at 3B. Matthew Muzia of SBNation Denver spent a week with the Asheville Tourists (Arenado’s team), and had this to say about his fielding:

The 19-year old infielder has limited range, has a below average arm and makes even the most routine play at third base appear difficult. As I wrote in my notebook after watching Arenado field a bunt, “moves like he needs a walker”. It remains to be seen if the club decides to move him to another position or allows him more time to attempt to figure out the hot corner.

Based on the current makeup of the Rockies’ roster, I imagine he could be moved to 1B if his fielding becomes too much of a problem, but they would probably be best served to keep trying him at 3B until then.

Outlook

Arenado is still a very young player, as he will be just 20 years old for most of his 2011 season. I have to imagine that based on the production he provided in Asheville, he will at worst be moved up to the Rockies’ High-A affiliate in Modesto. I believe he will start his season there, but if he can show the same offensive skills he did in Asheville, he may move up quickly. Either way, he will still be in the upper tier of players at his level, especially for his age.

Prediction for 2011

.320/.375/.580, 23 home runs (High-A)

If he splits time between two levels, .290/.360/.550, 18 home runs.

Expected ETA

Late 2012, but more likely sometime in 2013.

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