Nolan Arenado is good at baseball.
I could have easily clicked "publish" after the completion of that first sentence and it would've been one of the most accurately descriptive articles ever written about the Colorado Rockies' All-Star third baseman, but you spend your hard-earned free time looking for more than that, so I feel obligated to give it to you.
But it's true. Arenado is really, really good at his trade. In fact -- dare I say -- he's great at it. And the best part? At just 24, he's still about three years away from entering his prime.
Arenado was supposed to be good. During his ascent through the minor leagues, the 2009 second-round draft pick was ranked among the top 100 prospects in the game by Baseball America on three separate occasions. But, the thing is, never in our wildest dreams was he supposed to be this good.
Routinely drawing comparisons to Adrian Beltre, the best third baseman most of us have seen in our lifetime is a thing of the old for Arenado. Now, he's often being talked about in the same breath as Brooks Robinson, perhaps the best third baseman anyone ever saw.
That's high praise, indeed. But it's also not without merit.
In his third season at the major league level, Arenado has gone from an elite defensive third baseman with an at-times questionable bat to one of the very best all-around players in the National League. He's already a 4-WAR player with a little less than a half-season remaining in 2015. And remember, he's only 24.
Judging by defensive WAR, he's the second-best defender in the NL at any position. That much we've come to expect. But he's also fifth in the senior circuit with a .926 OPS, and he's done most of his damage away from Coors Field. AIn addition, Arenado ranks fourth in the NL in homers (24), tied for first in runs batted in (70). He has the 13th-lowest walk rate among NL hitters. Did I mention he's only 24?
Arenado is well on his way to a third consecutive Gold Glove award. He makes routine plays, difficult plays, impossible plays ... you name it. But now he can hit. And he can hit really well. And, like that Tulowitzki fella, really hard. It's not just weak contact that is driving Arenado's always-solid rate of putting the bat on the ball anymore. If he can make minor adjustments to improve his selectivity a bit, wow ... watch out.
It's pretty easy to conclude that Arenado has been the Rockies' most valuable player to this point of the season, especially once you see that in terms of WAR, he's nearly doubled up the team's next-best player, Charlie Blackmon. That's really saying something, considering Blackmon is having an even better year in 2015 than he did in the first-half of an All-Star 2014 campaign while Tulowitzki, DJ LeMahieu and Nick Hundley have all had All-Star-quality half-seasons of their own this year.
This should be a landslide, but vote in the poll anyway ...