Originally posted on Baseball Professor  |  Last updated 5/1/13
As a rule, we fantasy leaguers love to own prospects before our fellow owners. There’s little as rewarding as grabbing a minor leaguer before he becomes a household name and then watching as he develops into a stud. But how do you sort the Tony Cingranis from the Brandon Maurers? Prospect Profile is here to help. This week we examine recent Rockies call-up, Nolan Arenado.Player Name: Nolan Arenado Team: Colorado Rockies Position: 3B Bats: R Age: 22 Ownership: Yahoo! (44.0%), ESPN (35.1%)Pedigree: Strong. Arenado has followed a Y0-Y0′s trajectory through the minor leagues, but appears ready to deliver on the promise he showed two years ago when he became a darling of the dynasty leagues.He spent 2011 in High-A, slugging 20 HR,  122 RBI and a .298 BA in 134 games. In the Arizona Fall League that year, the hit parade continued, and Arenado capped off a remarkable calendar year (155 RBI in 153 games!) hitting  .388 with 6 HR and 33 RBI in 29 games, earning AFL MVP honors.That’s when the rising star looked like he might flame out. His 2012 season was a disappointment by most accounts. Entering the season ranked among the game’s top prospects, Arenado struggled, relatively speaking, in Double-A. He finished with a respectable .285/.337/.428, but the power wasn’t there to the level analysts expected and his stock dropped to the point where he was noticeably absent from some top-100 prospect rankings entering this spring. But a strong start in Rockies camp coupled with a blazing  .362/.397/.667 in Triple-A and a slumping Chris Nelson was enough to convince Colorado to make the call.MLB ETA: Now. Arenado made his major league debut Sunday, and he wasted no time rewarding owners who plugged him into their lineups this week, going  3-for-6 with a home run and 2 RBI on Monday. It seems clear he’ll be sticking around, as the Rockies designated Nelson (who’s out of minor league options) for assignment.What to expect: Scouts are high on Arenado’s ability to make contact. They tout his smooth, compact swing and ability to drive the ball into the gaps. Though he’s not a slugger at this point (most projections call for about 15 HR in the remaining 130+ games), there’s room to grow and playing in Coors Field can only help. He doesn’t walk much and his L/R minor league splits are a bit concerning, but a .275 average and solid run-producing ability is a reasonable prediction for the remainder of his rookie season.Long-term ceiling: Aramis Ramirez. That might not sound exciting for those owners expecting the next Chipper Jones, but take a look at Ramirez’s career numbers (342 HR, .286 BA, 13.7 K%). Arenado probably won’t hit 38 HR like Ramirez did in 2006, but he does have the ability to compensate with a higher BA if he can keep his K-rate in the 10% range where it has remained in the minors.Floor: Bill Mueller. Worst-case scenario, Arenado’s power never develops and he becomes an above-average contact hitter.Recommendation: Add him in all leagues.Did you get Arenado in your leagues? What are you expecting? Continue the discussion in the comments section or take it to twitter (@thebholloway).
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