After making a major statement in the Arizona Fall League (.388, 6 HR, 33 RBI in 121 AB) fantasy owners have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of Nolan Arenado. How long will we have to wait? Is he worth it? Let’s take a look at everything we need to know:
- 21-years old
- Third baseman
- Right-handed hitter
- Drafted in the second round in 2009 (59th overall)
- At Double-A this season is hitting .294 with 7 HR, 38 RBI, 33 R and 0 SB in 279 AB (through Sunday)
- Makes very good contact, with an 11.7% strikeout rate in 2012 at Double-A (10.6% over minor league career entering the season)
- Could stand to draw a few more walks (6.8% this season)
- Contact helps him to hit for a good average, with .298 in 2011 being his career worst (all courtesy of believable BABIP)
- Led minor leagues with 122 RBI in 2011
- Power has been developing, with 20 HR in ’11 (added 32 doubles and 3 triples); had 41 doubles in ’10
- The power is no sure thing as according to mlb.com, “With an innate ability to hit the ball hard to all fields, Arenado should hit for average and drive in plenty of runs. How much home run power he has remains to be seen, but at the very least he’ll be an extra-base machine. He is very difficult to strike out and doesn’t mind hitting behind in the count.”
- Baseball America gives a little bit of a different take on his power potential saying, “His swing has a flat path, but he gets good extension and has shown an increased ability to hit balls with backspin, which should lead to solid or better power.”
- Regardless of what you believe you would think Coors Field would definitely fit his abilities and he could rack up doubles in the expansive outfield there even if he doesn’t hit home runs
- He offers absolutely no speed
- Prior to the season Baseball America ranked him as the #42 prospect overall while mlb.com ranked him at #17
- Has the makings of being the perfect #3 hitter in time, though I would anticipate him hitting lower in the order at the outset of his career
Third base is not as shallow as it once was, but Arenado has the potential to be a keeper there moving forward. He may never hit 30 HR, but in Coors Field he could hit over .300 to go along with 20+ HR and 100+ RBI. No matter what the position, that’s going to hold plenty of appeal.
Jordan Pacheco has helped to fill the team’s gaping hole at 3B this season, but we all know that he’s not the long-term solution. In what is quickly becoming a lost season the Rockies could opt to bring Arenado up at some point this season to see if he is ready to take the reigns in 2013.
Unfortunately, it is a double-edged sword. The team won’t want to rush him, as they may have done if they felt they needed him to stay in a race. He may not get the call until September at this point, so those in yearly formats won’t want to do anything dramatic to get him. However, once recalled he should hold value in all formats.