Kris Bryant, Bryce Harper… why not Nolan Arenado?
The 26-year-old superstar 3rd baseman is coming off his second straight season of 40+ HR and 130+ RBI. He’s neck and neck for the best all-around 3rd baseman in the league with the likes of Kris Bryant and Manny Machado, who just might take home his first MVP award this year as well.
With Arenado’s offensive numbers, it’s hard to ignore the fact that he gets to play half his season at Coors Field. However, if he were to put up a third season in a row of similar numbers, it would be hard to discredit his constant dominance. Take into account what he means to the Rockies, his stellar defense [four Gold Gloves in four season], add in the fact that he likely has not even reached his peak yet, and you might be looking at one of the best overall MVP candidates.
If anything’s been holding Arenado back from an MVP award, it might be the fact that the Rockies haven’t been competing during his career. In Nolan’s 2015 breakout campaign, Colorado had a 68-win season, dead last in the NL West. Last season, they had a seven-win improvement, but still finished six games under .500. This year though, the Rockies might be competing for a Wild Card spot.
They made offseason acquisitions to improve both their pitching and their offensive depth. Adding Ian Desmond to an already scary lineup, plus full seasons out of Trevor Story and David Dahl, who both put up stellar numbers as rookies will make for even better lineup protection for Nolan than in previous years. Their number five prospect, outfielder Raimel Tapia, will look to make an impact this year as well.
If they end up sneaking into the Wild Card, or even get close, it could be enough to make Arenado’s case.