|Defense has been shaky so far |
by Nick Shlain of TigsTown.com, April 13, 2012 at 1:05 pm ET
Nolan Arenado Profile
The Rockies typically take pride in their defense, but they already have had some embarrassing and costly moments on the field early in the season.
In their four games, the Rockies have made six errors -- three Saturday and one Sunday at Houston and two more Monday in the home opener against the Giants. The Rockies lost all three games. Additionally, catcher Ramon Hernandez was charged with a passed ball on Saturday. As a result, six of the 20 runs the Rockies have allowed have been unearned.
Third baseman Chris Nelson made a costly throwing error Saturday -- he fielded a slow roller, threw wildly and later admitted he should not have attempted to get the out at first base.
On the same play, second baseman Marco Scutaro made a throwing error when he retrieved the ball Nelson threw and hit in the back the runner heading into second base. J.D. Martinez, the next batter, hit a two-run homer off Jamie Moyer to give the Astros a 3-0 lead.
Sunday, third baseman Jordan Pacheco's throwing error was pivotal in the Astros' two-run eighth, which gave them a 3-2 win.
Monday, left fielder Carlos Gonzalez dropped a short flyball on the first play of the fifth inning, and SS Troy Tulowitzki, after circling a ball in the hole, bounced a jump throw to Scutaro while trying for a force play. Those two errors sandwiched around a single loaded the bases, and Brandon Crawford cleared them with a double that gave the Giants a 7-0 lead, which proved to be the final score.
"I still think we are going to be a really good defensive team, but it's something we need to take pride in," Tulowitzki said. "Once you make an error here and there, and especially one that costs you a game, you start to think about it. I think that's maybe the case right now."
The team could get a boost offensively and defensively if third base prospect Nolan Arenado is called up early in the season. He's been playing with the Double-A Tulsa Drillers for just a week and is already the star of the team. In seven games, Arenado is 11-for-28 (.393) with four doubles.
I had many up close looks at Arenado this spring and I can attest to his defense as an asset as well. Not only did he get quicker at the position over the last year, but his instincts are better and he's had good hands and a solid throwing arm. A year ago, scouts might say that Arenado didn't look totally right at third base and now it's difficult to find a player in the minor leagues who profiles better at the hot corner.
Pacheco and Nelson have struggled defensively and will likely continue to do so at third base as neither really fit the position. The good news, of course, is that help is on the way and it isn't that far off into the future. If there was no such thing as MLB service time, it's likely Arenado will be in the big leagues right now. Unfortunately, for him (and us) the countdown until June is on. Until then, the search for consistency at third base may be ongoing.