Nolan Arenado

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Nolan James Arenado

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Biographical Information[edit]

Third baseman Nolan Arenado was selected by the Colorado Rockies in the second round of the 2009 amateur draft and was signed by scout Jon Lukens. He made his pro debut that summer with the Casper Ghosts, hitting .300 with 2 home runs and 22 RBI in 54 games with the club. With the Asheville Tourists in 2010, he posted a .308 average, 41 doubles, and 12 homers. He spent the next season with the Modesto Nuts and hit .298 with 32 doubles and 20 home runs, leading all of minor league baseball with 122 runs batted in. He spent the 2012 season with the Tulsa Drillers, playing 134 games and hitting .285/.337/.428, with 36 doubles, 12 homers and 56 RBI. He played in both the 2011 and 2012 Futures Game, representing the United States and was a Texas League mid-season All-Star in 2012, having been a California League All-Star the previous season.

Arenado made his major league debut with the Rockies on April 28, 2013, taking over as the team's starting third baseman after Chris Nelson had been designated for assignment. Facing the Arizona Diamondbacks, he went 0 for 3 with a walk. He had started the year red hot with the Colorado Springs Sky Sox of the Pacific Coast League, hitting .364 with 11 doubles and 3 homers in 18 games. He got his first hit and his first homer in his second game, against the Los Angeles Dodgers on April 29th. The hit was a single against Josh Wall in the 4th, and the homer was a two-run shot the next inning, also against Wall. He went 3 for 6 with 3 runs scored and 2 RBI in leading the Rockies to a 12-2 win. On June 5th against the Cincinnati Reds, he had the first four-hit game of his career, going 4-for-6 with three runs scored as the Rockies crushed the Reds, 12-4, getting 20 hits and 6 homers on the day. On June 7th, he hit a walk-off homer off Joe Thatcher of the San Diego Padres to lead off the bottom of the 9th and give the Rockies a 10-9 win. He finished the year at .267 with 29 doubles and 10 homers in 133 games and was named to the 2013 Topps All-Star Rookie Team.

Arenado started the 2014 season hitting very well. He was the first major leaguer to put together a twenty-game hitting streak that year, with it reaching 22 games on May 2nd. He hit .310 in April with 7 doubles and 4 homers, contributing to what was the most productive offense in the league in the early going. With a homer off the Texas Rangers' Martin Perez on May 5th, he extended the streak to 25 games, two shy of the club record set by Michael Cuddyer a year earlier. The Rockies feasted on the Rangers' pitching with a season-high 21 hits the next day, but Nolan had to wait until the 7th to extend his streak, pulling a ball that landed on the left field foul line for a double in a 12-1 win. On May 7th, he matched Cuddyer's team record with a two-run double off Colby Lewis in the 1st, sending Colorado on its way to another lopsided win, 9-2; he added another double and a single in going 3 for 5 that day. He set a new team record the next day with a single in the 3rd inning of a 5-0 loss to Texas but his streak ended at 28 on May 9th when he went 0 for 3 against the Cincinnati Reds; in that game, however, he drew a key 9th-inning walk against Jonathan Broxton that kept a rally alive, eventually allowing the Rockies to tie a game which they lost in the bottom of the inning. He was hitting .305 with 17 doubles and 28 RBIs after 49 games when he broke his middle finger sliding head-first into second base on May 23rd. He only returned to the line-up on July 3rd and ended up playing 111 games, with a .287 average, 34 doubles, 18 homers and 61 RBIs. He repeated as a Gold Glove winner at third base.

On April 14, 2015, Arenado flashed his Gold Glove form with a tremendous catch against the San Francisco Giants. The Giants had runners on first and second in the 8th inning when Gregor Blanco popped a ball towards the tarp on the third base side of foul territory. Arenado ran at full speed with his back to the plate, then stabbed his glove as he leapt over the tarp, catching the ball and falling halfway into the stands; he then immediately turned around to throw towards SS Troy Tulowitzki in an attempt to try to prevent runner Angel Pagan from advancing, although Tulo was unable to come up with the ball. Even though he was playing on the road at AT&T Park, he received a standing ovation, and many observers said the catch reminded them of Derek Jeter's epic catch of a foul ball under similar circumstances against the Boston Red Sox in 2004, one of the plays that cemented his legend. He was again a hero the next night, as he hit a three-run homer off Tim Lincecum to give the Rockies a 4-2 win and a three-game sweep of the defending World Series champions. It was a true breakout season for him with the bat, as on July 6th, he was leading the NL with 68 RBIs and was also among the league leaders in homers and slugging. He was named the NL's Player of the Month for September, when he hit .339 with 11 homers and 32 RBIs in addition to 79 total bases. He hit homers in six consecutive games from September 1-5. He finished the season tied with Bryce Harper for the most homers in the league with 42; he also led the league and the majors in RBIs with 130, 20 more than his nearest pursuer, Paul Goldschmidt. He set a new major league record for most extra-base hits by a third baseman, with 89. After the season, he was rewarded with his third straight Gold Glove and his first Silver Slugger Award.

Arenado started the 2016 season relatively slowly, with a .222 average and 2 homers over his first seven games, but on April 13th he burst out for two jacks and a career-high 7 RBIs to lead Colorado to a 10-6 win over the San Francisco Giants. It was the start of another highly productive year, in which he led the NL in homers with 43 and RBIs with 133, giving him back-to-back league-leading totals in both categories. His 352 total bases also led the league for the second straight year. He was an All-Star for the second time, won his fourth straight Gold Glove and repeated as winner of the Silver Slugger Award. In spite of these league-leading totals and awards, it was another third baseman, Kris Bryant of the Chicago Cubs who won the MVP Award, with Nolan finishing fifth. He was back raking in 2017, but there was a difference this time as the whole Rockies team was playing well and they had the best record in the National League in mid-June. On [[June 18]th, he hit for the cycle for the first time of his career, and did so in spectacular fashion, completing the feat with a three-run, walk-off homer off closer Mark Melancon in the bottom of the 9th to give Colorado a 7-5, come-from-behind win over the San Francisco Giants. On July 19th, he had a tremendous game, going 5-for-6 with 3 homers and 7 RBIs in an 18-4 win over the San Diego Padres, His first long ball came against starter Clayton Richard and the next two off reliever Kevin Quackenbush. He had a chance for a four-homer game but flied out against Kirby Yates in the 8th. Still, the three long balls tied a club record, last achieved in 2004 and the RBIs were one shy of the team mark set by Matt Holliday in 2005. Andres Galarraga remained the only Rockies player with a six-hit game, achieved in 1995. He was named the NL Player of the Month for July after finishing the month at .389 with 8 homers and 30 RBIs.

While Arenado's father was born in Cuba and his mother is from a Puerto Rican family, Nolan is a California boy through and through and hardly speaks any Spanish, something which his Latino teammates kid him about given his heritage. His father, Fernando, played all the way until junior college, and his brother, Jonah Arenado, was taken by the San Francisco Giants in the 16th round of the 2013 amateur draft. His father was a big fan of Nolan Ryan and named his son after him.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • 2013 Topps All-Star Rookie Team
  • 4-time NL All-Star (2015-2018)
  • 6-time NL Gold Glove Winner (2013-2018)
  • 4-time NL Silver Slugger Award Winner (2015-2018)
  • 2-time NL Total Bases Leader (2015 & 2016)
  • NL Doubles Leader (2017)
  • 3-time NL Home Runs Leader (2015, 2016 & 2018)
  • 2-time NL RBI Leader (2015 & 2016)
  • 20-Home Run Seasons: 4 (2015-2018)
  • 30-Home Run Seasons: 4 (2015-2018)
  • 40-Home Run Seasons: 2 (2015 & 2016)
  • 100 RBI Seasons: 4 (2015-2018)
  • 100 Runs Scored Seasons: 3 (2016-2018)

Further Reading[edit]

  • Thomas Harding: "Arenado assumes mantle as face of franchise: Rockies 3B notices difference in fan interactions at Rockies Fest",, January 24, 2016. [1]
  • Bob Nightengale: "Nolan Arenado, now the Rockies' franchise player, thrust into mentor role", USA Today Sports, March 24, 2016. [2]
  • Bob Nightengale: "Nolan Arenado is tired of losing. Will he have to leave the Rockies to win?", USA Today Sports, July 1, 2018. [3]
  • Jorge L. Ortiz: "Nolan Arenado fulfilling what many with Rockies expected: 'To be great'", USA Today Sports, July 6, 2015. [4]
  • Tracy Ringolsby: "Rox would be wise to lock up Arenado long term",, January 5, 2018. [5]
  • Joe Trezza: "Arenado thrives with unconventional technique: Uncommon footwork paying off at plate for Rox slugger",, July 20, 2017. [6]

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