National media says Cardinals’ Nolan Arenado is MVP candidate
After a very strong start to the season, the national media says Cardinals’ Nolan Arenado is MVP candidate.
Nolan Arenado has been good for the St. Louis Cardinals this season. Like, really good. To the point where he’s the way-too-early favorite to win National League MVP.
And he’s starting to get national praise for his start, with Arenado slashing .368/.442/.895 with five home runs and 14 RBI in 38 at-bats. Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com said that he is playing at an MVP level, adding: “Between the shoulder injury that hampered him in the pandemic-shortened 2020 and the time it took him to settle in with St. Louis last season, Arenado had valid excuses for not reaching the level of his 2015-19 play. … But just when it became fair to wonder if the 31-year-old could get back to that level, along comes a scorching start.”
Jeff Passan of ESPN, meanwhile, notes that Arenado has struck out more than he has walked and that his power stroke is “unimpeachable” while adding that while Arenado is on the wrong side of 30, “a return to .300 isn’t out of the question.”
Arenado at his full potential is a very scary thing for any team that the Cardinals face. With Arenado, and Tyler O’Neill and Paul Goldschmidt both performing at an All-Star level, the heart of their lineup is as fierce as any team in baseball. But Arenado was acquired to put them over the top. If the first 10 games are any indication of what is to come, not only do the Cardinals become the favorites in the NL Central, but perhaps one of the top teams in the NL.
Arenado is that important and his strong start, combined with his numbers from last season, prove that he was not a product of Coors Field. Far from it, even though he admits he was disappointed with his production last season that still made him one of baseball’s best third basemen. He worked hard in the offseason to get his hands quicker to get around on fastballs, among other things, and the results have been obvious so far.
We’ll see if Arenado can sustain this pace, but based on his past track record, it’s not unthinkable that he can once again hit over .300 while hitting 30+ homers. That level of production could very well lead to the Cardinals being a top-2 seed come the postseason, where Arenado could lead them to a match against the fearsome Los Angeles Dodgers.