Standing, err, sitting here today, I can unequivocally say that Nolan Arenado is the second greatest Colorado Rockie of all time. Every day analysts and fans compare him daily to the greats playing the game today, but what about just regarding the franchise?
For the fourth time in his career, Arenado was named the NL Player of the Week, hitting .458 with a .480 on-base percentage, 1.000 slugging percentage, four home runs, and 13 RBI’s. Arenado had a lit week, which isn’t anything new for the face of the franchise.
My apologies, swing and a miss on me adding popular lexicon like “lit” into the piece, I feel dirty.
Back to Arenado. Let’s talk about where he stands regarding the franchise he puts the jersey on for, the Colorado Rockies. Ask any serious to casual Rockies fan who the greatest player in franchise history is, and you’ll hear the name Todd Helton more than any other. Any discussion about the greatest player in franchise history starts with Helton, leaving a fight for number two.
Nolan has a long way to go in terms of games played and years with the franchise to match Helton. But, what really brings Arenado to the franchise best conversation is raw talent. When anyone talks about Helton’s greatness, it’s centered around his longevity, playing all 17 years with the Rockies.
However, not to take away from his accomplishments, a lot of the Rockies records in his name are due to him playing for so long, not just his talent.
Helton for now is in the top spot, so we need to look at who Arenado competes with at number two. This leads us to the only National League MVP the Rockies have ever had, Larry Walker. Walker is second to Helton in every major statistical category except batting average, which he sits at the top of the franchise.
Before Arenado blossomed into the player he is today, Larry Walker was regarded as the best talent the Rockies have had. Widely regarded as one of the best outfielders in baseball during his career, Walker was the first 5-tool player the club had ever had. His defense was just as prominent as his offense, which was valuable in the biggest outfield in baseball as Coors Field.
Though the team history isn’t full of winning, the club has had a wealth of talent throughout its history. But with Arenado, they have the best player in baseball, on both sides of the ball. He has yet to win an MVP award or a postseason game, but that shouldn’t hold anyone back from saying he is the best.
Watch any ESPN, FS1, or AT&T Sportsnet broadcast about baseball, you’ll find a #NolanBeingNolan highlight in it. His defensive ability is reminiscent of Brooks Robinson, while his offense plays like the great Chipper Jones.
From the eye test and raw talent aspect, it’s safe to drop Nolan Arenado as the second best player in franchise history. The way players and teams move talent between teams, it’s unrealistic to expect Nolan to stay in Denver for 17 years. Rockies fans would, however, be able to forget it the time he leaves, if he brings the city a World Series before he skips town.