Colorado Rockies: It’s too early to crown Nolan Arenado as greatest ever
In Friday’s Denver Post, Mark Kiszla proclaimed that Nolan Arenado is already the greatest player in Colorado Rockies’ franchise history.
In his article (you can read it here), Kiszla made that bold statement to justify that Nolan Arenado will become the first Colorado Rockies‘ player to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame despite playing at Coors Field as long as he avoids injury. Kiszla also left room for argument that he is not the greatest ever and that’s exactly what I’m going to do. Argue.
So let’s pump the brakes for a minute on Arenado and think about this. No offense to Larry Walker (who should be in the HOF) but this debate is between Nolan and Todd Helton.
Arenado does have Helton beat with his accolades. He has already tied Helton with his fifth All-Star appearance coming up and his four Silver Slugger awards. He also has doubled up Helton with six Gold Gloves with a high possibility of adding to it.
Where the “Toddfather” has Nolan beat is obviously longevity and that he played with the Rockies for his entire 17-year career, something only time will tell with Nolan. More importantly, Helton’s 2000 and 2001 seasons may not ever be matched again by someone in purple pinstripes.
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Those two seasons, sandwiched around strong 1999, ’02, ’03, ’04 seasons made Helton into one of the most feared hitters in Major League. It wasn’t until the ’05 season that his numbers started to slip due to trips to the DL and it wasn’t until after the Rocktober run in ’07 that his back issues began to affect his career.
So before we start anointing Arenado, let’s see where his production is at when he is in his thirties and whether or not he can avoid any serious injuries.
One final point: at one time, there was youngster that we all thought would one day dethrone Helton. He burst onto the scene, led the Rockies to a couple of playoff berths, put up some crazy stats for a few seasons, and then the Rockies gave him a large contract. Before we knew it, he was injury prone, couldn’t produce like we expected and was shipped out of town. That player was Troy Tulowitzki.
Being the great in baseball for multiple seasons and staying healthy in the process is hard to do. Just ask Carlos Gonzalez. If Nolan can sustain his numbers for four or five more seasons, I will gladly place him on that mantle…But until he does, Todd Helton will remain the greatest Rockies’ player of all-time.