This year’s Arizona Fall League featured some of the game’s most high-profile hitting prospects, most notably Bryce Harper of the Nationals, Mike Trout of the Angels and Wil Myers of the Royals, but Rockies’ prospect third baseman Nolan Arenado was the one who stole the show.
Before this afternoon’s title game between the Surprise Saguaros and Salt River Rafters, Arenado was presented with the league’s Joe Black MVP Award.
Previous Arizona Fall League MVPs include Dustin Ackley and Tommy Hanson.
Arenado batted .388/.423/.636 with six home runs, 33 RBI and a 1.059 OPS over 29 AFL games. The 20-year-old hit safely in 26 games and led the league with 47 hits and 12 doubles. He even hit a solo homer in the third inning this afternoon.
Selected in the second round of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, Arenado has a .302/.346/.483 batting line over parts of three seasons in the minor leagues. The right-handed hitter enjoyed a breakout year in 2011, batting .298/.349/.487 with 20 home runs, 122 RBI, a 47/53 K/BB ratio and an .836 OPS over 583 plate appearances with High-A Modesto. According to Bill Mitchell of Baseball America, “Arizona Fall League observers” now consider him a potential above-average defender at third base.
While Arenado is unlikely to earn a starting job with the Rockies out of spring training, he could make an impact at the major league level at some point in 2012.