Tuesday, July 23, 2024
AnalysisMLBNational LeagueNL CentralSt. Louis Cardinals

The Need for Nolan Arenado

Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

The past couple of weeks have most likely seen thousands of Cardinal fans check Twitter every thirty minutes in hopes of seeing the headline: Cardinals and Rockies in final stages of Arenado trade. However, the rumors of a potential Arenado trade have left some Redbirds fans skeptical, most likely wondering if the haul that would be sent to Denver would be worth it, or if Arenado could perform offensively outside of Coors Field. If you are one of these fans, this article is going to attempt to put your mind at ease and convince you why a Nolan Arenado trade should be priority number 1.

Side note: In this article, I will focus on Arenado’s offensive statistics. Even a casual baseball fan knows that Arenado is arguably the best defensive third basemen in MLB and his seven Gold Gloves and three Platinum Gloves speak for that.

The Coors Effect

With Larry Walker making his Hall-of-Fame push this year, baseball fans have been debating over how valuable a Rockies all-star actually is. The same debate is being had over Arenado, with fans wondering how his stats would look with a home ballpark not named Coors Field. Most people when they attempt to analyze Arenado’s value outside of Coors, go to Baseball-Reference and click home/away splits, Arenado’s away slash for his career is .265/.323/.473 with an OPS of. 799, which is…. above average, however, that is far from the full picture. Since his first All-Star selection in 2015, Arenado’s away slash is .269/.333/.506 with an .838 OPS. In 2019 his road OPS was .866, in 2018 it was .869. At Busch Stadium, Arenado’s slash in 98 PA is .278./337/.511 with an OPS of .848 and a BABIP of .294. For reference, his BABIP at Coors is .327. Using his performance at Busch has a baseline, let’s dive into the impact his bat would have at third base for the Cardinals.

The St. Louis Blues With Matt Carpenter

With the acquisition of Goldschmidt, the question mark around third base was, on paper, answered. Goldy at first and Matt Carpenter can play the season full time at third. With Carpenter coming off his best season yet where he came in top-ten in MVP voting and had a monstrous June/ July, the pieces were there. However, the plans went up in flames. 2019 was Matt Carpenter’s worst season to date, slashing .226/.334/.392 with an OPS of .726. Most fans are praying this was a fluke year and 2020 would prove to be a bounceback year for Carp, but the statistics tell a different tale. Carpenter is far from his 2013 self. Since 2016 Carpenter’s slash is .243/.367/.462 with a .828 OPS. On paper that is not too terrible in itself, however, those stats are inflated by his 2018 campaign, more specifically the June and July of 2018 where his OPS was 1.048 in June and 1.222 in July. Carpenters OPS in April/March and September/October? .579 and .558. The writing is on the wall for Carpenter, and his tenure at third base needs to be ended.

Conclusion

A trade for Arenado would not be the quick-fix solution for the Cardinals going forward in 2020. There are still question marks surrounding the outfield, rotation, and bullpen. It is also worth noting that the Rockies may not even be truly interested in dealing their superstar and are simply testing the waters. Most Cardinals fans, including myself, are wanting to see the front office put forth the effort, whether it pans out or not. With names like Rendon and Donaldson off the board, Cardinal fans are anxious about the lack of effort put forth in improving the lineup. But, the possibility of having Arenado wearing the birds on the bat for the foreseeable future is a huge step toward raising the 12th banner over St. Louis.

References:

All statistics were gathered from https://www.baseball-reference.com/

Stat Cheatsheet:

Slash line– Batting Average/On-base percentage/ Slugging percentage

OPS – On base% + Slugging%

BAbip– Per Fangraphs.com “Batting Average on Balls In Play (BABIP) measures how often a ball in play goes for a hit. A ball is “in play” when the plate appearance ends in something other than a strikeout, walk, hit batter, catcher’s interference, sacrifice bunt, or home run.”

Drake McGrew

My name is Drake McGrew, I am 22 years old, I have a Bachelors degree from Arkansas State Universty in History with a minor in Poli Sci . I have been a fan of the Cardinals since I was eight years old and my love for the game has continued to grow ever since. I have traveled to 14 MLB stadiums and have attended two postseason games. Baseball aside, my hobbies include hiking, traveling, playing video games, and listening to copious amounts of Bob Dylan. I can best be summed up by my life motto, Peace, Love, and Baseball.