Tuesday Rockpile: Nolan Arenado Inflames the Opening Day Debate

Nolan Arenado's home run yesterday landed here, which is still in a Cactus League stadium. - Christian Petersen

Nolan Arenado has homered in three straight Cactus League games. Does this change my mind on whether he should be on the Opening Day roster? What? Why would you ask that? You know better...

A week ago, Nolan Arenado had just two hits in Cactus League action - a double and a home run. I thought I might have jumped the gun on overhearing the engine starting for the "Arenado for Opening Day" bus with my Rockpile last Tuesday, but it seems to have been appropriately timed. Since that time, Arenado has hit three more home runs, in each of the last three games, and the wagon is roaring.

I toyed with the idea of republishing last Tuesday's Rockpile this morning, word for word, save for the adjustment of his statistical line. As promised, my stance has not budged in the last week. What we know about Arenado, the rest of the third base cast, and most importantly the logistics as dictated by the MLB collective bargaining agreement has not changed.

Four home runs in such a short time is certainly not a negative - Arenado's hot streak is enjoyable, but context is key. Context in this case is five names: Neil Ramirez, Andrew Werner, AJ Griffin, Taijuan Walker, Ryan Raburn. The first four names are the men that served up home run pitches. Ramirez is a marginal prospect and Werner had an ERA near 6 with the Padres last year. Walker is a hotshot prospect who lacked any command yesterday of the fastball he predominantly threw.

We already learned in 2011 that Arenado could punish minor league caliber pitching throwing predominantly fastballs in the dry elevation of Arizona.

Oh, Ryan Raburn. He hit one home run in 2012 and had a 30 OPS+, and he is tied with Arenado for the Cactus League lead in home runs.

The resistance against patience and CBA-based strategy with young prospects tends to come in the form of "No, you're crazy - I just want to play the best player." That statement is half true, and as I noted last week, Arenado was the best third baseman in camp before his home run binge. But context cannot be stripped from Arenado's situation. Holding the best option back off of a 90+ loss team for one month is not crazy - it is just good sense. Blame the CBA if it tastes bitter.

This does not just happen in Colorado obviously. Jeff Moore's "It Happens Every Spring" piece for the Hardball Times covers Oscar Tavaras and Michael Wacha in St. Louis. Arenado will steal third base from Nelson/Wheeler/Pacheco this year, but a couple desert bombs should not move the timeline.

Just enjoy it for what it is, and come back to Purple Row at 10 MT for the next installment of the Geoff Young/Jeff Aberle interview, where the Jeoffs discuss this very topic.

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Links

Baseball Prospectus | Western Front: Different Ballparks, Same Problem Speaking of Geoff Young, he wrote about the Padres and Rockies rotations.

Rockies' Todd Helton: What does he have left for likely final season? - The Denver Post Helton plans on hitting .300 this year. He is in no danger of cracking JD Gentile's great list of WAR after 35, but a strong final note would be great.

Jordan Pacheco displays rare versatility for sophomore | Rockies.com: News Pacheco played third base, first base and catcher in 2012, as you know.

Rockies Mailbag: Ryan Spilborghs set to play ball, post blog in Japan - The Denver Post Spilborghs will be trying to walk the path blazed by Dirk Hayhurst a bit here.

De La Rosa trying to find his rhythm | Rockies.com: News De la Rosa is a case where Spring Training matters. His elbow hasn't shown to be fully healthy in 22 months now, and erratic command is concerning.

Rockies' Juan Nicasio struggles vs. Mariners with poor command - The Denver Post Also somewhat concerning, but not incredibly so.

Know Your Enemy: Colorado Rockies - Bleed Cubbie Blue - Particularly noteworthy is the uninstigated defensiveness of the community on the Colvin trade.

It has been 5,000 days since Jose Jimenez' no-hitter with St Louis. Jimenez was soon after dealt to the Rockies as the major piece of the Darryl Kile trade and went on to have 102 saves and a 126 ERA+ in a Rockies uniform. The Rockies also signed Edwar Cabrera as an amateur free agent five years ago today.

Fewest swings per HR, minimum 1,000 swings, since 2009 - Tulo is on this list, and by Simon's next list, Rosario likely will be soon:

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