Colorado Rockies: The Five Best Players of the 2016 Season
No. 1: Nolan Arenado
All my colleagues here at Rox Pile made fine arguments for their Rockies MVP in our Colorado Rockies Roundtable.
But I’m sticking to my guns and still arguing Nolan Arenado was the Rockies best player in 2016!
Earlier I mentioned Arenado tied for the NL lead in HRs (41) and his 133 RBIs led all of MLB. What else did he achieve? He had 182 hits (third on the team), hit .294, had 116 runs (led team), 35 doubles (tied for second) and out of all qualified hitters led the team with a .570 slugging percentage.
Per Fangraphs, he had an offense rating (Offense – Batting and Base Running combined (above average)) of 19.6, a defensive rating (Defense – Fielding and Positional Adjustment combined (above average)) of 7.5 and a WAR (Wins Above Replacement) of 5.0.
Arenado also became a team leader and became vocal with his frustration with the team’s losing back in June.
And if you are wondering if this was a good thing, it was. Rockies insider Ed Henderson told Mile High Sports AM 1340 his reasoning why it was a good move (h/t Michael Laudick of Milehighsports.com).
“I don’t mind seeing that every once in a while,” said Henderson. “One guy getting fired up and maybe chewing some tail in either the clubhouse or in the dugout may not be a bad thing.”
“It lets the other guys know that, ‘Hey if your complacent about this, if you’re content to have this team going in the direction it’s going, that’s not acceptable,’” Henderson said about Arenado’s recent dugout outburst. “He is a very very competitive guy, as we know, and I think a guy that really really wants to win.”
I don’t believe the Rockies players have ever accepted the losing over the last six seasons. However, there hasn’t been much anger or disgust shown about it either. For Nolan to show this type of emotion, to show the anger, is a positive thing and re-affirms the belief the constant losing is not good enough and the team can be better.
We can all agree there is enough young talent on the current squad and with the right choice of manager, a few pieces added here and there and a revamped bullpen which can prove to be effective, the playoffs in 2017 is not out of the question.
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If you take Arenado’s offensive numbers out of the equation, simply put the team doesn’t lead the NL in RBIs, or in runs, or in hits, or in doubles.
We haven’t even spoke about his defense. His fielding did drop off in the second half of the season (he finished with 13 errors on the year), but his highlight reel plays still stand out, especially the ease he made the barehanded play look.
Furthermore, Arenado’s production in 2016 resulted in him becoming only the third player in baseball history to drive in 130 or more runs in consecutive seasons at age 26 or younger (Chuck Klein and Jimmie Foxx are the others). He is also only the third Rockie ever to have multiple 40-homer, 130-RBI seasons (joining Andres Galarraga from 1996-97 and Todd Helton from 2000-01).
Next: Colorado Rockies Roundtable: Who is the 2016 Team MVP?
So there you have it, folks. The five best Rockies players in 2016. There were several outstanding performances by different players. Offensively, the team is loaded. Pitching-wise, if the team can re-build the bullpen and have it be as successful as the one time the squad made the World Series in 2007 (3.85 bullpen ERA), we could see 2017 as the year to finally return to the playoffs.
And if we do the same list next season, from the top-five players we might see more than one pitcher on the list.