Nolan Arenado Scouting Report (2010)
Arguably the most advanced hitter I have seen pass through Savannah this season, Nolan Arenado looked every bit of a second round steal throughout the four-game set. In seeing Mike Stanton, Jason Heyward, and Jesus Montero in person, Arenado is not in that class. However, his talents fit nicely amongst the second tier of hitting prospects seen alongside Logan Morrison, Freddie Freeman, Wilmer Flores, and Oakland farmhand Chris Carter. And while I do not question the bat, I left the series wondering whether or not Arenado will stick at third base long term which would negatively affect his prospect status.
Physique & Athleticism – Listed at 6’2″, 205 lbs., he looked a couple of inches shorter in uniform which might be explained by his thick lower half and high socks. That look can often leave a player looking shorter than he actually is. With a thick lower half, Arenado is all lower body. His upper half is not developed at this point, but his broad shoulders and muscular forearms leave plenty of room for projection. A below-average runner, he’s built for power, not speed. Arenado’s movements were smooth at the plate, but his footwork left plenty to be desired in the field. In fact, it was so awkward the first impression left was that of a prospect destined for first base or left field. However, he did his best to sway my initial observation as he made up for his lack of footwork with a number of difficult plays and accurate throws across the diamond.
Hitting – Make no mistake, Arenado’s bat is going to have to carry him to Colorado. His in-game power is below only a handful of players I have seen at the level. He consistently drove the baseball hard into the gaps throughout the series leading to multiple extra base hits and a couple of fly balls which reached the warning track. As he adds pull side power, his home run totals should really take off. The natural lift generated by Arenado’s swing is far beyond his years as the power tool is normally the last to develop. Arenado also has the bat speed to drive 90-91 MPH up in the zone. Unfortunately, the Sand Gnats staff is a soft-throwing group so seeing how any hitting prospect handles higher velocities is virtually impossible.
As for Arenado’s hitting mechanics, his pre-swing load could be quieter as he starts his hands just behind his ears and has to move them quite a bit to get into the hitting position. His legs start in a medium-wide stance and he features something close to a double-tap prior to his swing. Throughout the series, he consistently squared up on fastballs, but sometimes looked as if the extra movement in his swing threw off his timing some versus offspeed pitches. Never cheated, his approach was to hammer the first fastball over the plate and he was successful more often than not. Like Wilmer Flores, Arenado left me more impressed with his ability to make hard contact than his pitch-taking prowess. If you can detect a hint of sarcasm, it is because walk rates for teenagers at this level are relatively worthless for a player like Arenado who is going to have to mash his way to Colorado.
Defense – In game one of the series, Arenado took short, choppy steps to to get to balls and made an error on a routine grounder a step to his left. My initial reaction was to write him off as a third baseman, but he proceeded to play flawless defense showing the ability to react to hard hit balls, charge slow rollers, with an average, accurate throwing arm. Arenado has quite a bit of work to do to project as an average third baseman, but he has time, and makeup on his side.
Speed – Not much to discuss here in terms of stolen base ability, but he’s a smart, hard-working player who will do the little things well such as baserunning.
Expect Nolan Arenado to shoot up Rockies prospect lists heading into the offseason as he may end the year as the best hitting prospect in the organization. While not a superstar talent, his hitting prowess places him with right there with other top 30-100 prospects I have seen. His status may take a hit due to questions about his defense, but he would be a welcome addition to any organization whether MLB or fantasy.
18 Jan 2014 / Mike Newman /
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