For the past few years, the Colorado Rockies haven’t had much go their way. They’ve finished in last or next to last in all of the past five years and in their entire team history, they’ve never finished in first place in their division. They’ve won one NLCS, which was in 2007, and went on to play the Boston Red Sox in the World Series and were swept.
Sorry Rockies fans.
But in the 2009 MLB Player Draft, fortune for the Rockies team would change. With the 59th selection, they selected a third baseman out of California, Nolan Arenado, who decided to pass on the scholarship he was given from Arizona State University to take a crack at the Majors. And unbeknownst to the Rockies, fortune started to tilt in their favor.
After blazing through the Rockies farm system, Arenado made his Major League Debut in April of 2013. In 2013, Arenado batted a solid .267, with 10 home runs and 52 RBIs. In his rookie season, he came in seventh for Rookie of the Year voting and won a Gold Glove. But 2014 proved to be the year in which Arenado would rise to stardom.
The 2014 season would see Arenado’s batting average rise to .287 with 18 home runs and 61 RBIs. But his numbers at the plate were not what got him his fame: it was his glove.
Arenado seemed to make diving plays at third on a nightly basis. It seemed as though every time you tuned into MLB Tonight on MLB Network, they were showing a beautiful Arenado play. And because of that, he won his second straight Gold Glove. Those jump throws he made from foul territory to first base were as smooth as the ones Derek Jeter once made. The dives on the field and into the stands were another reminder of Jeter’s fielding.
Judging by the way he’s playing this year, it doesn’t look as if he’s going anywhere.
Through June 26th, Arenado is tied for fifth in the league for home runs (20), tied for second in RBIs (60), and is hitting .287 with a .913 OPS. And baseball fans have come to expect, Arenado’s defense is as superb, if not better, than ever before.
His numbers so far this year have surpassed his past career-bests with flying colors. If Arenado continues at this pace, he will end up with 40+ home runs and possibly over 100 RBIs.
Now, those are pretty big numbers to shoot for, especially if it’s your third year in the league. But if he continues to improve, those numbers could be hit in the near future, or even now.
As far as Arenado’s hitting numbers go, they’re likely to increase due to playing half of his games every year in Coors Field. For Arenado, an outside factor like that helps him maintain the numbers he has put up so far in his young career.
Arenado could easily be the next Troy Tulowitzki, if not better. The Rockies would love a comparison to Tulo, minus the consistent injuries. Arenado is, and will be the guy the Rockies build their team around. Alone, he will not bring this team to a World Series.
But boost up the lineup a bit and enhance the starting rotation and you have a new team.
This time, it’s a contending one.
When it comes to Arenado being the best third baseman in all of baseball, he’s the first guy I would take at that position: an amazing hitter with power and contact that can drive to all fields and his fielding and arm are unmatched.
Watch out baseball world: here comes Nolan.