DENVER (CBS4) – Ian Stewart was supposed to be the next big thing for the Colorado Rockies at third base. He hit 25 homeruns one year, but he never got any better. In fact, he got worse.
Over the winter the Rockies traded Stewart to the Chicago Cubs. Now they have another phenom on the way and hopefully once he gets to the big leagues Nolan Arenado will own the hot corner for a long, long time.
Arenado is a young man in a hurry. At the 20 years old he thinks he’s ready to be the Rockies’ every day third baseman.
“I want in right now so bad. It’s an opportunity and I want to get up here as soon as I can,” Arenado said. “I know I’m young, but I don’t want to look into that and I don’t want them to look at that. I’m just going to play as hard as I can and hopefully they’ll go off that.”
But Arenado is going to have to wait. He’ll start the year in the minors, but it’s just a matter of time before the Rockies call their best position prospect up and tell him that third base belongs to him.
“He’s the youngest player in this camp. He’s probably the youngest player in a lot of camps … but believe me when I tell you this — he is a special talent and he’s going to be a very, very good player for the Colorado Rockies for a long period of time,” manager Jim Tracy said.
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Arenado spent part of the offseason working out with a couple of Rockies veterans. They see his talent and see how badly he wants it.
“We have a good relationship; he’s a hard-working kid. That’s all I ask for. Sometimes you get these top prospects and they come in and they think they’re hotshots and don’t work that hard,” Troy Tulowitzki said. “He’s the exact opposite. He’s one of the hardest workers. So I’ll go to bat with that guy any day.”
“He’s a phenomenal player. I mean he’s way beyond his years when it comes to hitting. He’s 20 years old and when you watch this kid hit, he’s got an idea how to play the game. It’s hard to forget that he’s 20,” Jason Giambi said. “He could be the next A-Rod who’s 20 years old. You don’t know, it’s hard to predict that.”
Giambi said the Rockies organization probably wants to see how he handles a little bit of failure.
“Because you are going to fail at the big league level, and it’s how you handle that,” he said.
If the Rockies are correct, Arenado will be their best third baseman since Vinny Castilla, who spent the spring in Arizona working with the young man who could someday replace him as the Rockies’ best third basemen ever.
“I think everybody in the organization knows he’s the next third baseman for a long, long time,” Castilla said.
“He’s helped me a lot … when I was in minor league camp and going up he’d take me one-on-one and work on certain ways to go to the ball and how to handle the defensive side at third base and what you need to do,” Arenado said.
Arenado figures to start the season at AA-Tulsa. CBS4′s Gary Miller believes Arenado will be with Rockies by the summer.