Photo courtesy of USA Today
By: Rob Schardt
I think it’s time for the baseball world to stop overlooking one of the best, if not THE best player in all of baseball. No I am not talking about Mike Trout or Bryce Harper or even Manny Machado, I am talking about Rockies 3 time All-Star Nolan Arenado. Since the day this guy has been called up to the big leagues, I have been fascinated by his passion and his will to better himself every day when he shows up to the ball park. Nolan is one of the league’s most underappreciated players that fans just take for granted because we are just so wrapped up in the bigger names, who play in bigger cities, but personally I truly believe Arenado is the MLB’s BEST player, yep I said it.
According to the infamous “Shredder” in the MLB Top 10 Right Now, heading into the 2018 Nolan was ranked number two behind Cubs star Kris Bryant. This I feel is highly inaccurate because in a sports world today all these analytics are giving dumb information. Since when do fans care about wins above replacement, because I know I don’t. When I see numbers for myself, that is how I will make my decision. Bryant is better in categories such as base running, speed and staying out of the double play, but Arenado is definitely a more complete hitter.
Do not get me wrong, Bryant is a great player, definitely a top 10 player in the game, but personally I believe the better players are the ones who come up big when the team needs you. Since 2013, Nolan has 111 go-ahead hits, with 5 of those being walk off hits. Most notably in 2017, Nolan hit a walk off homerun to complete a cycle as well. In this time however, only 4 players have had more and they are Paul Goldschmidt, Josh Donaldson, Miguel Cabrera and Albert Pujols.
Let’s dive deeper into the 2016 season, where Bryant won the NL MVP, which I feel should have went to Nolan. Bryant played 155 games, hit for a .292 average with 39 homeruns, 102 RBI’s, a league leading 1121 runs, a .385 On base percentage, and a .554 slugging percentage. Now look at Nolan’s: played in a league leading 160 games (missed 2), hit for a .294 batting average, hit a league leading 41 homeruns and league leading 131 RBI’s, an OBP of.362, a slugging percentage of .570 and oh! another gold glove may I add. By the way, he came in 5th in the MVP voting that year behind players such as Daniel Murphy, Corey Seager and Anthony Rizzo. So these numbers speak for themselves.
Baseball personal and fans are always quick to jump on Nolan because he plays at Coors Field, but that is just a dumb argument. How come nobody rips on Aaron Judge because he plays at Yankee Stadium, oh probably because he plays for the Yankees and hits the ball 490 feet! I’ve heard enough of this argument because in the end Nolan is the top hitter in the league and it should not matter where you play.
I will break this down even more, in 5 years Arenado is 5-time gold glover as a third basemen as no other 3rd basemen even comes close to Arenado when it comes to defense. In his career as well Nolan averages 33 homeruns, 114 RBI’s, and 42 doubles with a .288 batting average.
I just do not understand how each of the last 3 seasons, Nolan has yet to win an MVP. I can’t seem to figure it out what more he has to do, because him and Mike Trout are probably the best in their respective leagues but Nolan is always lost in the Rocky Mountains when it comes to the MVP. Trout’s team has made the playoffs one time (2014) - same with Nolan (2017). Personally from 2015-2017, Nolan should have won the MVP 3 times ahead of players such as Giancarlo Stanton, Kris Bryant and Bryce Harper. Yeah I am nuts I know, but you cannot HATE the greatness of Nolan.
I already showed you the stats from Nolan’s 2016 season so I’ll show you his 2015 and 2017 seasons, which personally should have been MVP seasons. 2015- 157 games played, a .282 average, 42 homeruns, 130 RBI’s, a .323 OBP and a .575 slugging percentage. In 2017, Nolan played in 159 games, hit for a .309 average, hit 37 homeruns, 130 RBI’s, a .362 on OBP and a .586 slugging percentage. Nolan has yet to finish top 3 in the final MVP voting, but hopefully this will change in the near future. If these numbers tell you one thing, it is that Nolan is the most consistent player in the entire league and I will take this man over any player in league.
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