DENVER -- Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado foreshadowed his rise to stardom by earning the 2011 Arizona Fall League Most Valuable Player Award. For that performance, the AFL and Bowman Baseball Cards chose Arenado as one of the top 25 players in the 25-year history of the league, which is designed for prospects to face top competition.
Arenado hit .388 with six home runs, 12 doubles and 33 RBIs with the Salt River Rafters in 2011. A couple of the game's top future stars, the Nationals' Bryce Harper and the Angels' Mike Trout, played in the AFL that same season. Arenado debuted in the Majors in '13.
Other prospects who represented the Rockies in the AFL and are on the top 25 list are outfielder Matt Holliday, who played for the Mesa Solar Sox 2002 and '03, and shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, who played for the Grand Canyon Rafters in '06.
Bowman is honoring top 25 players with oversize cards, distributed to the first 1,000 fans entering the designated park on designated nights. Holliday was honored Thursday at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, and Arenado and Tulowitzki will be honored on Nov. 3, also at Salt River Fields.
Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and like his Facebook page. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.