Wednesday, December 28, 2016

DrB's 2017 Giants Top 50 Prospects: #21 Jonah Arenado

Jonah Arenado, 3B/1B.  DOB:  2/3/1995.  B-R, T-R.  6'4", 230 lbs.  Drafted in 2013, Round 16 out of HS.

2016 A+:  .254/.286/.422, 36 2B, 17 HR, 3.3 BB%, 20.2 K%, 545 PA.

As I am sure you all know already, Jonah Arenado is Nolan Arenado's younger brother.  Despite that lofty MLB connection, Jonah's pro career has been little noticed after signing as a 16'th round pick, quite low for a HS player.  I am sure HS players drafted that low have had successful MLB careers before. I just don't know who they are.

Jonah got in a few pro AB's the summer he was drafted, and repeated rookie ball in 2014 where he showed almost none of the power you would like to see from a big kid and, well, from Nolan Arenado's brother!  Coming off two very modest rookie league campaigns, Augusta looked like a daunting assignment for 2015, but Arenado held his own, and kept holding it through the entire season, something that is quite unusual for a young player.  Just ask Ryder Jones and Christian Arroyo!  Arenado ended up with 9 HR's during his sojourn in Augusta, a fairly impressive total given the environment.  The 25 doubles he added to that might have been even more impressive.

Moving up to San Jose for 2016, Arenado had to shuttle between 3B/1B and DH until Chris Shaw was promoted to Richmond after which Jonah took over the full time 1B duties.  While his BA hovered in the mid-.200's all season, the XBH's came in bunches as he led the team in doubles with 8 more than #2, Ronnie Jebavy and he finished second on the team in HR's with 1 less than Dylan Davis who put his up in a half-season of games.

One reason Arenado is no getting much national attention is his sub-.300 OBP's.  Most analysts look at that and immediately write him off.  While walk rates under 5% are not ideal in your stat line, I feel it is more important for a kid like Arenado to be aggressive at the plate, not get himself into 2 strike counts where his K rates might soar above 30%.  First concentrate on making contact, then on making hard contact.   If he's being selective enough to make enough hard contact to produce 53 XBH's, I'll take that at this stage of his career.  Remember, power hitters tend to develop late.  He has a pretty simple, short swing that should translate well to higher levels.

While there is a ton of risk here, the ceiling is huge.  I think his development is right on schedule.  The Giants challenged him in 2015 with the Augusta assignment and he met the challenge.  I hope they challenge him again with a Richmond assignment.

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