Sports

Don’t treat Nolan Arenado like draft stud

As someone who has moved many times over the past 20 years, moving is stressful (and not just on the day of the move).

The change of scenery, while often refreshing, takes some getting used to — new noises, stores, restaurants, people — and that takes time. You might have had your daily routine down pat when you were at your old place, but you’re drastically changing your life.

It’s no different for baseball players when they’re traded or sign with a new team — even if they’re one of the best in the game.

Despite finishing with a career-best 10 percent walk rate in 2020, Nolan Arenado had a career-low batting average (.253) and a .738 OPS, his lowest mark since 2013. He hit eight homers, drove in 26 runs and scored 23 while playing in 48 games. His struggles could be attributed, in part, to an injured AC joint in his left shoulder.

Arenado was on a 162-game pace to record 28 homers, 88 RBIs and 78 runs, according to Baseball Reference — a far cry from the expectations he created from 2015-19, when the slick-fielding former Rockies star hit .300 while averaging 40 home runs, 124 RBIs, 104 runs scored and a .937 OPS. He was an All-Star in each of those seasons and finished no worse than eighth in MVP voting each year.

Arenado was a surefire first-round pick — when his name came up, you clicked the draft button or ran up to the draft board (when we did in-person drafts) with a smile on your face.

Cardinals
Nolan Arenado
Getty Images

This year? Well …

After being traded to the Cardinals, Arenado is not a first-round pick.

With his 32.3 average draft position, according to Fantasy Alarm, Arenado will now cost you second- or third-round pick. It seems like a bargain for a guy whose worst numbers from 2015-19 were a 37 homers, 110 RBIs, .898 OPS and a .287 average.

But, why the drop in price? Part of it is because of Arenado’s struggles in 2020 and his shoulder injury. Another factor: the Coors Effect. He became a fantasy asset in Colorado — hitting .322 with 135 homers, 461 RBIs and a .985 OPS in 543 games. He no longer has the luxury of playing half his games in Colorado’s offensive haven, so his stats in 536 games outside of Coors Field come into focus (.263 with 99 homers, 299 RBIs and a .793 OPS).

Does this mean Arenado will become the player he was outside of Colorado? Of course not. Players have had success after leaving Coors Field. DJ LeMahieu is a top-25 fantasy option after hitting .336 in his first two seasons in The Bronx (he hit .299 in seven seasons with the Rockies). Matt Holliday hit .287 while averaging 21 homers, 82 RBIs and a .859 OPS in various stops from 2009-17 after averaging 26 homers, 97 RBIs and a .938 OPS while hitting .319 with the Rockies from 2004-08.

Arenado likely will fall somewhere in between his splits. Baseball Reference is projecting him to hit .284 with 28 homers, 85 RBIs, 77 runs and a .872 OPS in 2021.

At his current ADP, Arenado is being taken before third basemen like the Angels’ Anthony Rendon, the Astros’ Alex Bregman and the Red Sox’s Rafael Devers, all of whom Roto Rage has ranked ahead of the former Rockie. Arenado also is being drafted ahead of top 20 pitchers like Luis Castillo, Brandon Woodruff, Blake Snell, Zac Gallen and Tyler Glasnow, none of whom Roto Rage would pass up to take Arenado sans Coors Field (especially with third basemen like Matt Chapman, Eugenio Suarez, Cavan Biggio and Alex Bohm available in later rounds).

Arenado became a fantasy gold mine in Colorado, but it’s going to be a different ballgame in St. Louis. Though the price is a bargain for a guy who consistently put up huge numbers, Roto Rage believes there are better buys out there.

First Baseman

  1. Freddie Freeman, Atl
  2. Cody Bellinger, LAD
  3. Pete Alonso, NYM
  4. Jose Abreu, CWS
  5. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Tor
  6. DJ LeMahieu, NYY
  7. Matt Olson, Oak
  8. Luke Voit, NYY
  9. Eric Hosmer, SD
  10. Max Muncy, LAD
  11. Paul Goldschmidt, StL
  12. Mike Moustakas, Cin
  13. Josh Bell, Was
  14. Dominic Smith, NYM
  15. Alec Bohm, Phi
  16. Anthony Rizzo, ChC
  17. Trey Mancini, Bal
  18. Rhys Hoskins, Phi
  19. C.J. Cron, Col
  20. Miguel Sano, Min
  21. Christian Walker, Ari
  22. Ryan Mountcastle, Bal
  23. Carlos Santana, KC
  24. Hunter Dozier, KC
  25. Rowdy Tellez, Tor
  26. Jared Walsh, LAA
  27. Bobby Dalbec, Bos
  28. Andrew Vaughn, CWS
  29. Yuli Gurriel, Hou
  30. Joey Votto, Cin
  31. Jesus Aguilar, Mia
  32. Renato Nunez, Det
  33. Tommy La Stella, SF
  34. Jake Cronenworth, SD
  35. Jeimer Candelario, Det
  36. Evan White, Sea
  37. Ji-Man Choi, TB
  38. Nate Lowe, Tex
  39. Brandon Belt, SF
  40. Ryan McMahon, Col
  41. Mitch Moreland, Oak
  42. Colin Moran, Pit
  43. Wilmer Flores, SF
  44. Garrett Cooper, Mia
  45. Asdrubal Cabrera, Ari
  46. Jake Bauers, Cle
  47. Ronald Guzman, Tex
  48. Josh Fuentes, Col
  49. Niko Goodrum, Det
  50. Yandy Diaz. TB
Indians
Jose Ramirez
AP

Third Baseman

  1. Jose Ramirez, Cle
  2. Manny Machado, SD
  3. Rafael Devers, Bos
  4. Anthony Rendon, LAA
  5. Alex Bregman, Hou
  6. DJ LeMahieu, NYY
  7. Matt Chapman, Oak
  8. Nolan Arenado, StL
  9. Yoan Moncada, CWS
  10. Cavan Biggio, Tor
  11. Eugenio Suarez, Cin
  12. Max Muncy, LAD
  13. Alec Bohm, Phi
  14. Jeff McNeil, NYM
  15. Kris Byrant, ChC
  16. Josh Donaldson, Min
  17. Ke’Bryan Hayes, Pit
  18. Tommy Edman, StL
  19. Justin Turner, LAD
  20. Gio Urshela, NYY
  21. Austin Riley, Atl
  22. J.D. Davis, NYM
  23. Eduardo Escobar, Ari
  24. Kyle Seager, Sea
  25. Jean Segura, Phi
  26. Brian Anderson, Mia
  27. Jeimer Candelario, Det
  28. Andres Gimenez, Cle
  29. David Fletcher, LAA
  30. Willi Castro, Det
  31. Ryan McMahon, Col
  32. Joey Wendle, TB
  33. Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Tex
  34. Carter Kieboom, Was
  35. Mike Brousseau, TB
  36. Maikel Franco, FA
  37. Asdrubal Cabrera, Ari
  38. Tommy La Stella, SF
  39. Luis Urias, Mil
  40. Chad Pinder, Oak
  41. Evan Longoria, SF
  42. Rio Ruiz, Bal
  43. Isaac Paredes, Det
  44. Spencer Torkelson, Det
  45. Marwin Gonzalez, Bos
  46. Yandy Diaz, TB
  47. David Bote, ChC
  48. Erik Gonzalez, Pit
  49. Yoshi Tsutsugo, TB
  50. Edwin Rios, LAD

Team Name of the Week

Kiss from Arozarena


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