LOS ANGELES -- This is lofty territory, the terrain generally reserved for the likes of Michael Trout and Bryce Harper: best position player in baseball.There are a handful of others, however, who deserve mention in the conversation and one was on display Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium.Rockies third baseman Nolan
LOS ANGELES -- This is lofty territory, the terrain generally reserved for the likes of Michael Trout and Bryce Harper: best position player in baseball.
There are a handful of others, however, who deserve mention in the conversation and one was on display Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium.
Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado put on another show, this time crushing a pair of home runs through the heavy spring air and almost making a spectacular barehanded play on a Joc Pederson infield bouncer in Colorado's 4-3 victory over the Dodgers.
It was the 11th time in his career Arenado managed a multi-homer game. He's 26.
"He's one of the best players in the game," said Rockies manager Bud Black. "There's no doubt about it. I'll go on record saying that. He's arguably in the top five. He does it both at the plate and on the field. He makes all the plays.
"In the 15 games we've played, you could go back to probably each and every game and see where he's contributed."
This kind of performance isn't exactly news. In the past two seasons, he had a combined 263 RBIs, leading the Majors. He's won four consecutive Gold Glove Awards.
He does it all, leaving Arenado a little uncertain how to take it when people call him one of the best players in the game.
"I appreciate it, but I really don't take it at all," Arenado said. "I don't think about that stuff. I have a long ways to go.
"It's April, I'm swinging the bat pretty good and today was a great day, but there's five months left of baseball. I have a lot of work to do."
Arenado actually gave credit to unlikely sources for his Tuesday performance. His father, Fernando, and El Toro High School coach Mike Gonzales.
The Rockies had their first off-day of the season Monday and Arenado used it to go back to his high school in Lake Forest, about 50 miles south of Dodger Stadium.
"Honestly, I have to give credit to my dad and my high school coach," Arenado said. "I went to hit with them yesterday back at my old field. I was working on some things, fixing some things. And today I was able to do it."
Back when he played at El Toro, he was a shortstop and catcher. He was only rated the 31st best prospect in California in 2009. But he's been nothing but a sensation since joining the Rockies' lineup as a 22-year-old.
And there's nothing like hitting a pair of home runs off Hyun-Jin Ryu and then almost making a remarkable play charging Pederson's bouncer and throwing on the run to just miss him at first.
"It had a lot of spin on it," he said. "If I would have gripped it right and thrown harder, I think I might have got him. It was just a tough play."
Steve Dilbeck is a contributor to MLB.com based in Los Angeles.