Rancho Cucamonga, California —— Above, watch one of our scouting videos of San Francisco Giants prospect Jonah Arenado, from an April, 2017 series for the San Jose Giants on the road in the High-A California League against the Lancaster JetHawks. To read our feature interview with the San Francisco Giants’ Jonah Arenado published yesterday, please click here. To visit Jonah Arenado’s player page, please click here. And please subscribe to the Baseball Census YouTube channel here for hundreds more videos like this one.
Jonah Arenado scouting report notes
Jonah Arenado is going through it right now: in his last ten games entering Tuesday, he’s just 3-for-31 (.097) with eleven strikeouts against just three walks. On the year to date, through 33 games, he’s slashing .211/.276/.281/.556 with one home run, ten walks, and 33 strikeouts in 114 at-bats for the San Jose Giants. That’s a big departure from his team MVP honors last season when he hit 36 doubles and 17 home runs (although even last year he slashed just .254/.286/.422/.709 and walked only 18 times in 128 games). Arenado is very young still for this league, and it’s serving him well to repeat the California League here, because he needs to develop better plate discipline and patience—and when you talk to him, he’ll admit exactly that.
When his swing is right and he’s barreling the ball, Jonah Arenado the same guy he’s always been: a line drive machine who stays through the ball exceptionally well and has the natural strength and raw power to hit balls very hard, and very far. Here, from earlier in April, is a vintage swing where he squares up the ball and hits it pure:
He was swinging the bat quite a bit like that last year, showing a patience to wait on his back leg even as his aggressiveness left him virtually unable to walk. Among his struggles recently has been an inability to do that consistently, instead jumping out and lunging on breaking balls and showing a struggle with pitch recognition, especially with two strikes. It’s just a sustained slump right now, and this time next month he may well have gone on a tear, but it’s notable to see whether he’ll be able to figure things out quickly here, as it’ll dictate where his career might go in the upper echelons of the San Francisco Giants‘ system.
There are a lot of things working in his favor, of course. He’s a good defensive first baseman, probably better than he’ll get credit for, with good footwork around the bag for his size and soft hands there. He’s been playing some third base, too, in a bid for versatility, and he’s fine over there (though better at first). His power is true, and if he can right the ship with regards to aggressiveness, he has enough raw strength and the perfect swing plane to do extra base damage in his future and retain his corner infield role. It comes down to patience and pitch recognition; the slump of the last ten games notwithstanding, he struggled mightily at letting the game come to him over long stretches last year, too. He’s still young for the league (he just turned 22 in February), his attitude, maturity and competitiveness are exceptional, and he has enough by way of tools to one day make it work.
You’ll know he’s turned the corner when he starts walking more. The strikeouts are always going to be part of his game one way or another, and with a power hitter, that’s fine. But as Arenado himself has said, if you’re going to strike out that much, you’d better walk a lot, too. If/when he starts doing that, you’ll know it’s time for a promotion to Double-A Richmond. Until then, he’ll work his way through daily at-bats in San Jose to figure it out and find a way out of this slump.
Jonah Arenado scouting report: 140 characters or less
Over-aggressiveness has him slumping early in 2017, but Jonah Arenado’s raw power is real and can sustain him with an improved approach.
Jonah Arenado scouting report video
Here’s a look at our most recent Jonah Arenado baseball video, taken during a late April series for the Giants on the road against the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes:
Here’s more Jonah Arenado baseball video, taken from a few weeks earlier during another San Jose road series down in Lancaster:
And finally, here’s some Jonah Arenado baseball video from 2016 — the compilation of every Cal League at-bat of his that we got on tape last summer:
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Jonah Arenado scouting report GIFs
In addition to our video clips, we broke out some Jonah Arenado baseball GIFs for a deeper look at his line-drive oriented swing from both 2016 and 2017:
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In this San Francisco Giants / Jonah Arenado baseball scouting report: