Nolan Arenado had a great first season with the St.Louis Cardinals. What do the statistics say about his season and what it means long-term?
When the St. Louis Cardinals made the trade for Nolan Arenado last year, it sent shockwaves through the sport. It was a proclamation that the Cardinals were ready to return to national relevance in terms of being viewed as a powerhouse team again.
Arenado helped propel the Cardinals to the playoffs and an overall successful season. He is a legit superstar and the team will likely go as far as he and fellow slugger Paul Goldschmidt can carry them. I don’t think anyone can call Arenado’s 2021 season a disappointment. However, there were some statistics to raise a red flag moving forward.
Arenado is just 30 years of age and likely still has some prime years left. Also, moving from the extreme hitters park in Coors Field to a much more pitcher-friendly environment in Busch Stadium could put a lid on some of the otherworldly stats Arenado was putting up. Here is a rundown of some key stats for Arenado from the 2021 season, via Danny Vietti CBS Sports MLB.
We can run through those stats. Batting average? Meh, take that for what you will. Many people scoff at batting average now while evaluating players. I think it’s still a useful stat but doesn’t tell the whole story. I’m also not worried about the home runs. 34 home runs is still a great achievement and we know Arenado has the potential for many more, so I would look at 30+ home runs as the floor moving forward. It is also well known how elite his defense is at third base, so defense is not a concern in the slightest.
The other stats are a little worrisome. His barrel percentage and hard-hit percentage both being career-lows is a reason to raise an eyebrow. The batting average and reduced home run totals can and should bounce back, and the ballpark factor is a possible reason. The batted ball statistics like how hard he is hitting the ball and how often he is squaring it up are areas to keep an eye on in 2022 and beyond.
Overall, there is really no reason to worry about the St. Louis Cardinals superstar. While the back of the baseball card numbers may fluctuate a bit, he is certainly a tremendous player. I do think it is worth watching to see if his other statistics tick back up. If they don’t, and his run production numbers take another slight drop off in the 2022 season, this conversation could take on a more serious tone this time next year. But for now, just enjoy the ride Cardinals fans. The best third baseman in the sport is wearing the birds on the bat.