Nolan Arenado’s struggles: How much should Colorado Rockies fans worry?
By Kevin Larson
Some of the stats indicate the Rockies’ third baseman is a victim of some bad luck.
As we’ve already seen, Arenado’s difference in xwOBA and wOBA show that he’s been getting unlucky. It’s not often you see a Rockies player have a higher xwOBA than wOBA so that needs to be recognized when it comes to Arenado’s current stats.
Another stat that shows Arenado’s been unlucky is his BABIP (Batting Average on Balls In Play) which currently sits at .167, a career-low. A normal BABIP will be around .300 and Nolan hasn’t had one lower than .312 in the past three seasons. Part of this is simply going to be because he’s getting more pop-ups and hitting the ball softer, thus making it more likely he’s going to get out more. But there’s also an element of luck at play here and that low of a BABIP shows Nolan’s been unlucky, just as his xwOBA insinuates.
Arenado’s also striking out at an incredibly low rate, only 7.1%. That’s basically twice as low as his 2019 rate of 14.0% and puts him in the 100th percentile in the league. And while having a low K% doesn’t always equate to being a better hitter at the plate, it does mean more balls in play which should mean a higher chance of getting on base. But soft contact and pop-ups don’t exactly help this cause.
A surprising stat to see given his struggles is that Arenado’s barreling up the ball 8.2% of the time. This is actually higher than his 8.0% number last year and ranks 4th on the Rockies this season behind Hilliard, McMahon, and Story. That number not dropping off shows us that when he’s making good contact, he’s still making really good contact. So this should be a sign of positivity going forward.