Arenado goes yard again for Salt River
Rockies' second-rounder hits fourth home run in seven games
Nolan Arenado has just been waiting for his pitch. On Wednesday, with two outs in the third inning, Surprise starter Nathan Adcock offered up a knuckle curve to the Rockies infielder.
Fastball. Curve. Whatever.
"I knew it was going to go out," said the 20-year-old.
Colorado's No. 4 prospect homered for the fourth time in seven games, clubbing a two-out drive to left field as Salt River went on to a 6-2 win over Surprise on Wednesday in the Arizona Fall League.
Batting third for the Rafters, Arenado is hitting .379 with four homers and 22 RBIs in 15 games this fall. He's coming off a big season at Class A Advanced Modesto in which he batted .298 with 20 homers and 122 RBIs.
"I've been comfortable, but I've also been swinging at bad pitches," he said. "But when I stay patient, I wait for my pitch, and when you do that, good things can happen."
The Rockies' second-round pick in the 2009 Draft went 2-for-4 with a long ball Tuesday. He came back Wednesday and singled in the fifth, his 20th hit of the season. He's got a .413 on-base percentage in his last 10 games, and that's with just one walk.
"I've gotta be consistent," he said. "The last few days I found my pitches to hit, I put some good swings on them and they just got out."
In the third, Arenado admitted he was looking for a fastball after taking an inside heater for ball one.
"It was a curve, I was looking fastball and just reacted curveball, and I read it good," he said. "I hit it out in front, got it up there in the air, and the wind was blowing out a bit today. But I'm just waiting for my pitch and taking good swings. I make sure I take a hack and see what happens. I just want to hit the ball hard."
Arenado is the latest in a line of top prospects the Rockies have sent to Arizona, including Ian Stewart (2005), Troy Tulowitzki ('06) and Dexter Fowler ('07). He's coming off a season in which he led the California League in RBIs.
"It was awesome, it was a good learning experience," he said of his summer in the Minors, his third in the pros. "It was a long season, I played in like 130-something games, but this whole process is learning one, and you're competing and getting better. I feel like I got better, I showed what I could do."
Arenado said he's not too concerned with proving himself to scouts or the Rockies brass who may be deciding on his future. He's a good bet to begin 2012 in the Double-A Texas League with Tulsa, although he still dreams of making the Major League roster next spring.
"I'm just trying to be me, not do too much, be myself, do what I can do, play my game and hopefully people will be impressed," he said. "That's all it is, whatever happens happens. I'm going in to show them I don't want to go to Double-A, my mind-set is to show them I can play up there [in Colorado]."
As for his current team, Arenado said it's a thrill to play in a lineup with prospects such as Adam Eaton (D-backs), Ben Paulsen (Rockies) and Brian Cavazos-Galvez (Dodgers). The Rafters lead the AFL East with 14 wins.
"It's awesome, it's great, this is why I love baseball," Arenado said. "Good people, good friends -- it's cool, man. You see a lot of good ballplayers and you think you could maybe play with these guys in the future in the big leagues. It'll be cool to see them progress."
Rockies right-hander Joe Gardner started for Salt River and allowed a run on two hits over three innings for his third win. The Royals' Adcock (1-2) was charged with five runs -- four earned -- on 10 hits over five innings.
Leury Garcia (Rangers) and Rays first-round pick Mikie Mahtook went deep for Surprise.
Danny Wild is an editor for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.