How will Nolan Arenado fare without the “Coors Effect”?
Whenever a Colorado Rockie has an MVP-caliber season, nobody seems to bat an eye. It’s unfortunate, really. Great players have called the mile high city their home such as Todd Helton, Larry Walker, and Troy Tulowitzki. The first two in every right should be first-ballot Hall of Famers. But why aren’t they?
The answer is the good ole Coors Effect. Since the city sits around 5,000 feet above sea level, the baseballs seem to jump out of the park at an alarming rate. The outfield at this pitcher’s nightmare is also the largest in terms of square feet allowing more balls to drop in. Recent product, Nolan Arenado, has been robbed of MVP votes due to these factors, and it’s sad because he is an unbelievable player.
Just yesterday, Arenado was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals. Immediately, people questioned his ability to perform in a much lower elevated and more humid environment. The stats don’t lie. Arenado isn’t nearly as good as an offensive performer as he is at home (Coors). His career on-base plus slugging on the road is at .793 while at home it’s a whopping .985. Wow.
You can compare Arenado to other established players who were Rockies and have recently moved on. Matt Holliday was also a Cardinal and didn’t produce the stats he did at Coors. Same goes for Troy Tulowitzki who just called for retirement after battling injuries as a Yankee and a Blue Jay.
The real outlier in this equation is D.J. LeMahieu. People were skeptical he would perform as well as he did as a Rockie. He was more of a high average type hitter in Denver. Once he packed his bags and left for New York, he added power to his repertoire, clocking 26 home runs in his first season. The most he hit as a Rockie was 15. Now some could say it has to do with Yankee Stadium being tiny and also hitter-friendly, but maybe the real case here is LeMahieu is a good ballplayer.
The same may go for Arenado. There’s no real way of seeing what the outcome will be. If all else fails, Nolan happens to have a glove that can be applied in any stadium in Major League Baseball. Nolan Arenado is the best defensive third baseman since Brooks Robinson. So if the bat isn’t there at first, you can always rely on an average defensive WAR of 1.8 which is staggering.
Defense is an underrated attribute. If I were a Cardinals fan, I’d be stoked to see what Arenado does because you never truly know whether offensively or defensively.