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Thursday Rockpile: The Amazing Arenado

Nolan has impressed with late game heroics and amazing defense so far this year.

Christian Petersen

Lots of interesting Rockies news out there today that I will get to in a bit, but first, I want to praise Nolan Arenado and his outstanding week that has accentuated his good debut for the Colorado Rockies. In the last seven days, Nolan has batted to the tune of .400 average, a .419 on base percentage, and a .733 slugging percentage. While some may say this is about time, as it has only raised his average to .252, that doesn't show the true measure of his bat.

While Nolan has not hit like a certain rookie sensation in Los Angeles, he has made the most out of his hits. His ISO rating, which measures the ability to get extra base hits is fifth on the team at .186. In 71 fewer at bats, he has the same number of doubles and triples as Dexter Fowler (albeit with five less home runs). Also, while streaky, his offense has been a welcome sight to the lineup, especially his ability to win two games in the Rox's final at-bats. However this is not what has me so excited about Nolan.

Coined Hoovernado by someone in a game thread (could be SDCat), its Nolan's defense that has been so unfathomable, at least for me. Not having seen him play in the minor leagues, I believed what others had written about him being a possible liability at the hot corner. Whoever these people were, I hope they don't get paid for their analysis because his defense is spectacular.

He is a nightly highlight reel at third base. He leads the Rockies in nearly every defensive statistic (RngR, UZR, and UZR/150) and is in the top four for all MLB third basemen in each of these stats (4th, 2nd, 3rd) while leading them in RZR (min 200 innings). My hope is that if he keeps this up, voters will notice because he should be in serious consideration for a gold glove.

I know this isn't the first article written about Nolan recently, but after watching his defense the past two nights, I felt it needed to be praised again. At just 22, he should have many years to continue wowing us with his play.


Speaking of young potential for the Rockies, Jonathan Gray was in Denver yesterday and signed with the Rockies as reported by our own Russ Oates. He is to start in Grand Junction according to Troy Renck. Rumors say he was signed at or near the slot value so that should keep the Rockies in the hunt with the rest of their draft picks.

It was also reported on Purple Row and in the Denver Post the Eric Young Jr. was designated for assignment. Out of options, this could mean the end for EY Jr in the Rockies organization as he obviously has the talent and speed to be a factor in the league. He poor defense and inability to pinch hit effectively made him a luxury that the Rockies could no longer afford as their fourth outfielder since they often carry an extra pitcher. Chris Volstad took Young's place on the roster.

In an informative but mostly anecdotal piece, Jeff Sullivan of fangraphs points out a slowing trend in Troy Tulowitzki's habits between pitches. He has gone from being quicker than average to get back inside the box to being one of the top five slowest over the span of his career.