PHOENIX -- Though the early projections are for Nolan Arenado to start the season at Triple-A as the last rung after four years climbing the Minors, his .364 Cactus League average -- with power aplenty -- has been making enough noise in camp to force his way into the discussion as the Rockies shape their roster.
"I think it's safe to say he's made a good impression," manager Walt Weiss said after Saturday's 6-3 loss to the A's. "There's a ways to go this spring, but I think he showed up ready to go."
Arenado accounted for all three Rockies runs, bouncing a three-run homer of a billboard beyond the left field-fence to pull Colorado within 5-3. Even without sending the ball out of the park in the sixth for his second spring round-tripper, Arenado had a pair of loud outs. He sent a deep fly to left in the first inning before it died on the warning track in Seth Smith's glove, and drove another that pinned Coco Crisp against the center field wall in the fourth, 410 feet from home.
"He's got a good swing," Weiss said. "The bat's on path early. He stays through the ball. A nice approach at the plate."
His glove and arm are showing up as well, as evidenced when the 21-year-old third baseman initiated a triple play against the Reds on Thursday.
With Chris Nelson (.301 in 2012) penciled in at third, the challenge is finding space for Arenado on a jam-packed roster that might already have four versatile players who can play two or three positions apiece -- two of whom hit in the .290s last year and two who hit .300 or better -- occupying four available bench slots. As Arenado continues to progress, he's likely to land where he can play every day come April 1, either in Triple-A or on a differently configured Rockies roster.