Not So Fast, Nolan Arenado


Most people can relate to the letdown after a highly anticipated event. You invest a great amount of energy into looking forward to it. The closer it gets, the more excited you get. It almost reaches a point where looking forward to the event ends up being more enjoyable than the event itself. The worst part is when that moment actually ends up being a disappointment, where you then lament all of the energy spent on the anticipation of it. You wish you could go back in time to when you were excited about what could have been, when that little slice of unknown translated into an extra measure of excitement. It is the worst kind of letdown.

This feeling translates over to watching professional sports in a number of ways. This happens in baseball, with great frequency, when it comes to “super prospects,” the guys who everybody knows about from their debut in single A, the guys who are supposed to be the next big thing, the guys who are supposed to save their respective franchises. In the worst scenarios, these “can’t miss” guys get to the show and never reach that potential. They disappoint.

I hope that does not happen with Colorado Rockies third base prospect Nolan Arenado.

Perhaps the best recent example of prospect letdown in the collective memory of Rockies fans is current Chicago Cubs third baseman Ian Stewart. He was a 1st round pick. He was going to be one of the next great Colorado power hitters. Paired with Troy Tulowitzki, he was going to solidify a dynamite pairing on the left side of the infield. He had the flashy glove. He had the swing. He had the swagger.

It did not work out, and it was a painful letdown that was prolonged over a three year stretch that saw him platooned, striking out far too frequently, and ultimately losing playing time to guys like Ty Wigginton.

Ultimately there is no way to guarantee that the same does not happen with Arenado. It is up to him to keep improving, mature as a player, and become the cornerstone the Rockies envision him to be.

That does not mean the Rockies cannot help put him in the best position to do so. To that end, I see no reason to force him onto the Rockies roster in September. His season in AA Tulsa has been inconsistent. He has struggled psychologically with slumps. Why rush him when the Rockies are already assessing other infielders such as Chris Nelson, Wilin Rosario, and Jordan Pacheco who can play 3rd base? Why increase the chances of the dreaded prospect letdown by forcing the 21 year old into a situation he potentially cannot handle?

Because that will be valuable experience for him? I don’t buy it….does that ever actually work? Should it matter that much for a guy with a pedigree as high as Arenado?

To give the fans something to get excited about? Please.

There are enough issues for the big league club to deal with between now and the end of this woeful season: Troy Tulowitzki’s health, filling the first base void, Wilin Rosario‘s defense, finding a position for Jordan Pacheco, and admiring their best outfield that contains Carlos Gonzalez, Dexter Fowler, and Tyler Colvin. That’s plenty to worry about. There is no reason to add Arenado’s development and the increased likelihood of the dreaded prospect letdown to that mix.