Nolan Arenado: Why He Isn’t in the Home Run Derby
Only once this season has Nolan Arenado not participated in a game for the Colorado Rockies. As the All-Star break approaches, a breather may be coming at a perfect time for one of the National League’s top players.
While Arenado will be participating in his second All-Star Game on Tuesday in San Diego in a reserve role, he did decline the opportunity to take part in this year’s Home Run Derby. One of the reasons he stated earlier in the week is fatigue.
“I was tempted,” Arenado said about the Home Run Derby. “Part of me wanted to do it, but I was thinking about the second half (of the season) and I’m a little tired so maybe a little break wouldn’t be a bad idea. But hopefully one day I’ll be able to go again. I definitely want to do it at least one time.”
Looking at Colorado stats heading into Saturday’s game, Arenado leads the Rockies in games played (85) and at-bats (334). As Walt Weiss told me at the start of the season, getting Arenado and some of Colorado’s other young stars to take a day off isn’t an easy decision. However, there are signs that Arenado may need a break.
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Even though Arenado is second in the National League with 23 homers, he’s hit just two of those since June 21. Additionally, while he’s struck out just 51 times this season, 14 of those have been since June 27, including back-to-back three-strikeout games to open the month.
No wonder Arenado hesitated when he was asked to participate in more All-Star duties.
“I was thinking about doing it,” Arenado said about the Home Run Derby. “I told them if I made the team I would definitely consider it but once I made the team, I wasn’t 100 percent sure and they needed to know right away. I didn’t want to hold them up or make them wait so I just said no and it was OK. If some of the other guys were ready to answer them right away, go ahead. I didn’t want to delay it and say no.”
Weiss says whether a player like Carlos Gonzalez decides to participate in the Derby or Arenado says no, it’s a “personal decision” for that player to make.
“I think it’s a fun event and spices up the All-Star break and All-Star Game. It’s something everyone looks forward to,” Weiss said. “I encourage our guys to do it. It’s something you get a chance to do every once in a while and you should jump at it when you get the opportunity.”
“It’s a very personal decision. I have no issues with a guy who wants to be in the Home Run Derby or no issues with Nolan not wanting to be in it. You have to be all in if you’re going to do it. I can see both sides.”
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While Nolan Arenado won’t be participating in the Derby, he says he can relax and be there to cheer on CarGo … and maybe do a little bit of work.
“It will be a lot of fun,” Arenado said. “It was a lot of fun last year watching (Todd) Frazier win it and hanging out with the guys who were all there. It’ll be cool to see. There’ll be some big bombs. I’ll be pulling for CarGo and there to cheer him on and give him some water during the breaks.”