Tha Sports Junkies 101

Ain’t No Mountain High Enough for Nolan Arenado

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Nolan Arenado turned out to be a diamond in the rough for Colorado.  

Today in Major League Baseball, the league is littered with extremely talented third baseman.  Evan Longoria, Matt Carpenter, Josh Donaldson, Manny Machado, and Kris Bryant all come to mind when thinking of the premier players that man the hot corner.  With all due respect to the aforementioned players, Nolan Arenado may be the best third baseman in the league.

In 2009, the Colorado Rockies selected Arenado out of El Toro High School in the second round of the 2009 Amateur Draft.  While many people assume Mike Trout was the only superstar to be drafted that year, Nolan Arenado fits that billing as well.  Unlike Trout though, Arenado was never ranked as a cant-miss prospect. never ranked Arenado higher than 27th overall on their annual prospect rankings.  In fact, the scouting report from 2012 on the Rockies’ Gold Glove third baseman states, “There was concern about his defense at third…”  Nowadays, the only ones concerned are opposing hitters who worry that Arenado may steal a double or two from their stat line.

2013 marked Nolan Arenado‘s first year in the big leagues.  Over 133 games, the California native flashed some minor offensive potential.  He managed to accumulate 43 extra-base hits including 10 home runs.  But his defense is what set him apart as a rookie.  According to, Arenado was worth 3.6 Wins Above Replacement on defense alone.  He won his first Gold Glove Award, making him the first ever National League third baseman to win the award in his rookie season.

In his sophomore campaign, Arenado again impressed, although his season was shortened by injuries.  He hit 18 home runs and 34 doubles in just 111 games for Colorado.  Once again, Arenado captured the Gold Glove Award.  Despite injuries in 2014, people started to take notice of Arenado’s ability.  His glove-work was no secret, but his offensive prowess was just waiting to burst out.

In 2015, Nolan Arenado put himself on the map.  The Rockies’ third baseman would slug 42 home runs to lead the National League.  He also drove in 130 runs and posted a career high .575 slugging percentage.  Arenado was named to his first all-star team, and he would go on to win his third consecutive Gold Glove Award.  Despite all of his accomplishments, Arenado didn’t even come close to winning the National League MVP Award.  Many sportswriters automatically assume that Nolan Arenado‘s offensive statistics are inflated due to the fact that he plays half of his games at Coors Field, where the ball travels considerably better compared to most other ballparks.  Although his average was over fifty points higher at home, Arenado actually hit more home runs on the road.  There’s no question that Bryce Harper was the only real choice to win the Most Valuable Player Award in 2015.  But Nolan Arenado definitely deserved to finish considerably higher than eighth.

Arenado has not missed a beat coming off of his career year, but it hasn’t been smooth sailing all season.  Thus far, the 25 year-old has 30 home runs and 104 runs batted in while hitting at a .283 clip.  He was named as a National League all-star yet again, and he has been one of the league’s most dominant offensive players.  His defense has been supreme as usual; he has a dWAR of 1.8 through 122 games.  In the month of July though, Arenado struggled mightily.  He batted .228 with only 13 extra-base hits.  The Colorado Rockies were on the verge of jumping into the wild card race, but Arenado’s struggles held the ballclub back.  In August, the third baseman has returned to form.  He has six home runs and 25 RBI’s.

Nolan Arenado may have held the Rockies back in July, but the organization has held him back in his quest to become the league’s best player.  Colorado has not mistreated or mishandled Arenado in any way.  Unfortunately, most people don’t appreciate great players on teams that they don’t care about.  The Rockies have never won more than 74 games since Arenado joined the roster back in 2013.  There will always be unfair presumptions that Coors Field makes hitters appear better than they are.  Maybe it’s time for everyone to stop finding reasons to discredit Nolan Arenado and start appreciating how great this guy really is.  He smokes baseballs all over the yard, and he is just as good with his glove.  He might not play for a very good team, but Nolan Arenado is the best third baseman in the game today.