Let’s cut to the chase, shall we? There is no better defender at his position in the game of baseball today than Nolan Arenado of the Colorado Rockies. Period.
That statement alone will do enough to draw the ire of people from around the nation I am sure. However, a glut of offseason awards is proving that not only is the 25-year-old All-Star not only in the prime of his career, but he is also getting better at what he does. That is a scary thought for hitters throughout Major League Baseball.
On Friday night, Arenado earned his first-ever Rawlings Platinum Glove Award, representing his play as the best defender in the National League. Not just at third base, but in the entire league. And before you go off on the “online voting” and “popularity contest” angle of the award, remember this: Colorado is not the largest market in Major League Baseball. There have been plenty of times the Rockies have lost popularity contests (take the All-Star Game’s Final Vote as an example). Players representing Chicago, Miami and San Francisco were also in the running for the award. Nolan won.
More from Rox Pile
- A Colorado Rockies Thanksgiving
- Colorado Rockies: What if Todd Helton had played football instead?
- Colorado Rockies: Charlie Blackmon out for the season
- Colorado Rockies: Injuries shift look of roster ahead of Dodgers series
- Colorado Rockies: Has Sean Bouchard earned a second look in 2023?
The Platinum Award comes on top of a bounty of awards Arenado has accumulated this offseason. His fifth Gold Glove in five seasons. His third consecutive Fielding Bible Award. His third straight Wilson award, which recognizes the best player at each position. Using a complicated system, as The Denver Post explains in this article, Arenado came out on top in the Wilson ratings.
You see, with these awards, it’s not just about his amazing glove. It’s also about the arm he has to complete the throw when he is lying on his back. It’s about the range he shows to track down grounders that would be base hits against other infielders. Arenado brings the complete package on the defensive side of the ball. And he does it through his hard work and dedication to his craft.
Arenado paced all third basemen in defensive WAR (2.3). He was better than all other third basemen in 2017 with 20 defensive runs saved. The statistics speak for themselves.
Oh, and by the way, he also hit .309 with 37 home runs and 130 RBI with a .959 OPS. Go ahead and say Coors all you want, but 19 of the homers came in Denver while 18 were on the road. Go ahead and say Coors all you want if you want to bash his offensive stats and say he is a product of elevation, but the man can field the ball at any stadium anywhere in the world.
Name another player who has won more awards this offseason. Go ahead. I will wait.
Nolan is being recognized as the best in so many awards … except National League Most Valuable Player. What else can Arenado do (other than not play at Coors) to win the award … or even place in the top three? It’s crazy we even have to ask this question.
Here is the link to the 2018 Rockies schedule. Go ahead and make your plans now to watch the best in the business patrol third base for Colorado again this season. You won’t be disappointed.