See the links below for the rest of my AFL scouting notes.
If my Twitter feed is any indication, it's pretty trendy to gush about Nolan Arenado right now. Known as a hitter who may not have a position entering 2011, he has put defensive doubters to rest this fall while showing plenty of offensive upside.
A well-below-average runner, Arenado excels at third base due to his outstanding body control, strong arm, soft hands, sound footwork, excellent instincts and surprisingly good lateral mobility. He successfully charged a swinging bunt and gunned down the speedy Anthony Gose when I saw him yesterday. He also started a double play earlier in the same game, poised to the point that it looked simple and routine. In the three AFL games I've seen Arenado this fall, he has cleanly and confidently handled every ball hit to him at third base. He's given me no reasons to doubt his ability to remain at third base, showing the potential to be an average of better defender there.
The only thing to keep on eye on is his frame. Arenado is a big, strong physical presence of a 20-year-old. He's going to get bigger and stronger, which could bring his offensive performance to a superstar level but won't help his defense.
At the plate, Arenado is a tough out. He has extremely impressive barrel control, which makes him a confident two-strike hitter who isn't afraid to fall behind in the count. He'll take some big cuts and swing through pitches, but he shortens up and makes contact when he needs to. Almost every time he makes contact, he squares up on the ball and hits it plenty hard. His ground balls are scortchers. His line drives can be scary. And his fly balls carry. What's more, he's patient and controls at-bats.
Nolan Arenado is the real deal. He's a top 10 overall prospect for me right now. Given the lack of big hitters who can man the hot corner in the big leagues today and his odds of sticking at the position, he could very well emerge as an annual all-star. Put him in an extreme hitter's park for the better part of a decade and he may become one of the most productive bats in baseball.
Follow Adam on Twitter @AdamWFoster.