The Rockies’ Nolan Arenado Is The MLB’s Next Superstar
Nolan Arenado has teased Colorado Rockies’ fans the past two seasons. The 23-year old right handed slugger is now fully healthy and could be very well poised to become baseball’s next big thing. His scorching hot 2015 start certainly shows he is ready.
Arenado was the second round draft pick of the Colorado Rockies in 2009. After a huge 2011 in High-A for the Modesto Nuts, he went on the win the 2011 Arizona Fall League Most Valuable Player Award for the Salt River Rafters. His big league debut was imminent and Rockies’ fans couldn’t wait.
Arenado is the Rockies best third base option since Vinny Castilla terrorized opposing pitchers by averaging 38 home runs a year over a five year span in the mid to late-90s. Last season, Arenado was on his way to stardom when he broke his finger sliding into second base. He hit the DL and was limited to just 111 games. His numbers were still very impressive as he slashed his way to a .287/.328/.500 with 18 home runs and 34 doubles in 432 at bats.
Any power hitting youngster in Colorado is automatically a player to keep an eye on early in his career. The legendary thin air has launched lesser known power hitters such as Ellis Burks and Garrett Atkins to stardom since the team’s inception in 1991. Arenado, however, brings another dynamic to the game that the Castillas, Atkins and Jeff Cirillos before him never possessed.
The Sharknado, Arenado’s nickname because of his ability to whirl and twirl down the line to throw base runners out, is quite possibly the best fielding third baseman in the big leagues. He has won the National League Gold Glove in both of his first two seasons in the Majors. With only an aging David Wright to compete with, Arenado may be heading towards a Scott Rolen-esque era when he dominated both offensively and defensively as the premier third basemen in the NL. Arenado may be the best in the hot corner not just in the NL, but the game.
Arenado has gotten off to a fast start in 2015. Yes, it is only three games, and yes it was against a mediocre Milwaukee Brewers pitching staff who allowed 20 runs in three days. The problem is that the Rockies’ lineup is so stacked at the top that there is no one to pitch around. Charlie Blackmon, Carlos Gonzalez, Troy Tulowitzki and Justin Morneau should be getting on base plenty before Arenado gets to the plate, and with last year’s breakout start Corey Dickerson batting in the six hole behind him, Arenado will see his pitches. And most likely, he will continue to mash them.
The Rockies’ third baseman has six hits in his first 13 at bats in 2015. Four of those hits are for extra bases and he has yet to strikeout. He is creating runs, scoring five already, while producing them, driving in five more thus far. If the first three games are a precursor to Arenado’s season, baseball may be looking at it’s next big superstar.