Colorado Rockies: The debate for and against Nolan Arenado
With one simple tweet, Colorado Rockies fans knew very quickly that Rox Pile had a FanSided cousin who covered the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Truth is, Rox Pile has FanSided cousins who cover every Major League team. Sometimes we agree on things. Sometimes we don’t. That’s what families do.
The tweet sent out from the Rum Bunter Twitter account that was sent out during the All-Star Game immediately riled up Rockies fans … and for good reason.
Of course, we were asked to not only explain the cousin’s tweet but also to remove him off the stage like an old episode of The Gong Show.
Well, here’s the deal … this is America. And, as much as we may not like it sometimes, everyone has their right to an opinion. My grandpa fought in World War II and my dad fought in Vietnam for those freedoms, even when someone expresses an opinion that we completely disagree with.
I reached out to Rum Bunter with a simple proposal: You write why you don’t believe Nolan is a top five third baseman. I’ll write why I think he is. We’ll present our arguments to the masses and let the readers decide. A good old-fashioned point-counter point.
Marty from Rum Bunter accepted my offer and penned the words below. I’ll present my counter-argument on the next page.
See what you think and feel free to comment in the comments section below…
The case against Nolan Arenado
Let me preface this by saying I believe Nolan Arenado is a hell of a player. He is undoubtedly one of the best two-way players in all of Major League Baseball, as well as being one of the best third basemen in the game right now. However, currently, third base is arguably the deepest it has ever been in Major League history.
Nolan Arenado is one of the best players in the National League. Unlike so many Rockies players before him, he is not a product of Coors Field. As it is for most Major League players who do not play at a pitcher’s park, his home numbers are of course better. However, the gap between his career stats at home (116 wRC+) and on the road (105 wRC+) are not huge and he is an above average career hitter both at and away from Coors Field.
Hell, in 2017 he has been better on the road (117 wRC+) than he has been at Coors Field (113 wRC+).
There is no denying Nolan Arenado’s power. Since the start of the 2015 season, he leads all Major League third basemen in home runs (100), ISO (.275), and slugging percentage (.568). These are insanely good power numbers.
Hitting, however, entitles a lot more than just hitting home runs. In terms of being a complete hitter, there are multiple third basemen better than Arenado. During this same stretch, he is 10th among Major League third basemen in wRC+ at 120.
A big reason for this is Arenado is not an overly patient hitter. His 7.4 percent walk rate since the start of 2015 is outside the top-20 on Major League third basemen. As a result, his .345 on-base percentage the past three seasons is good for 12th among Major League third basemen.
Defensively, Arenado is a wizard. This is not news to any of you reading this, and most likely is not news to any baseball fan. His 24.0 dWAR the past three seasons is good for fourth in baseball. His offensive prowess combined with his defensive skills places him fifth among Major League third basemen in fWAR (FanGraph’s WAR) since the start of 2015 at 12.6.
The three third basemen ahead of him in fWAR are Kris Bryant, Josh Donaldson, and Justin Turner. When looking at the top seven third basemen in fWAR during this stretch, Arenado has played more games than any of the others. While this is a testament to his durability, it also makes his fWAR per game sixth in the Major Leagues during this stretch.
Nolan Arenado is a strong defensive third baseman who possesses great power. However, there are a handful of third basemen in baseball right now that are better all-around hitters and players than Arenado is. That’s not even a knock on Arenado as much as it is a testament to how strong the third base position currently is in baseball.