Reno manager Brett Butler gushed about Nolan Arenado, the top prospect who has homered in his first two games with the Sky Sox.
Butler has seen plenty of big prospects come and go after a 17-year big-league career and now serving in his fifth year with the Aces in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League.
“When you talk about a guy who you say is a can’t miss, he seems to be that,” Butler said. “He’s got a tremendous approach at the plate, he looks like he can do everything. I’m impressed by him. He can play.”
Asked what it was, specifically, about Arenado’s approach at the plate, Butler offered a further explanation that included a comparison to Tampa Bay All-Star Evan Longoria.
“He’s still,” Butler said. “He’s very quiet and you can see the confidence he has at the plate. There are guys that you look at, Longoria was a lot like that at the plate. You can just see the confidence.”
Home run bounces off the mountains
Arenado’s home run on Friday, a solo shot in the seventh inning, bounced off the mountains atop the Security Service Field scoreboard in left field.
It was a high, well-struck fly ball that was guided by a strong wind.
“The wind obviously made it go a little bit farther, but right when I hit it I knew it was out,” Arenado said. “I made sure I ran, I didn’t try to show up the pitcher at all.”
LeMahieu’s play saves the day
Shortstop DJ LeMahieu, like several of his Sky Sox teammates, went into the offseason with realistic hopes of starting 2013 in the major leagues.
LeMahieu hit .297 in 81 games for the Rockies last year, but didn’t make the club.
He said he was sure the defensive plays he’ll make in the Triple-A – most notably a game-changing backhand-and-throw with two outs and the bases loaded in the fourth – will be noticed by the organization’s brass. But that’s not why he was excited about the play.
“No matter where you’re at you want to make plays like that,” LeMahieu said. “I was happy to help the team out right there.”
LeMahieu added an RBI single and would have had another hit had he not been victimized by a diving play on a line drive by Reno shortstop Chris Owings, who is rated as the best defensive infielder in Arizona’s system by “Baseball America.”
The difference between the minors and majors is often finishing, be it an at-bat or an inning. The Sky Sox struggled in that department early on Friday, as Reno batters went 7-f0r-12 in two-out situations over the first five innings.
Fortunately for Colorado Springs, the damage was limited to single runs in the third and fifth, thanks largely to LeMahieu’s play.
Still not getting along with others
For those who have closely followed the Sky Sox in recent years, it probably wasn’t a surprise when news broke that Rockies reliever Edgmer Escalona was involved in a skirmish with teammate Juan Nicasio in the outfield before Thursday’s game. The players were pulled apart by teammates in full view of fans.
Escalona, while in Triple-A in Colorado Springs, once had to be physically separated from pitching coach Doug Linton following a game.