Nolan Arenado has not shown interest in a spot on the National League’s Home Run Derby team, but the 24-year old slugger has all the reason in the world to be there. He could have an excellent shot at bringing home the hardware, too, with a little help from a teammate.
The Rockies have an opportunity to send two representatives to the Derby for a second year in a row, and last year’s National League captain, Troy Tulowitzki, is not one of them. Though it’s not something to be proud of, it’s also no secret that Rockies’ right hander, Kyle Kendrick, leads the majors in home runs allowed this year.
There's about a 0% chance either side goes for this, but here are the numbers and figures, anyway. The two are a match made in home run heaven.
- 14 of the 23 home runs allowed by Kendrick have been to right handed batters; righties have a .550 slugging percentage against him.
- 22 of Arenado’s 24 homers have come off of right handed pitching, contributing to his .650 slugging percentage vs RHP.
- Only eight of 223 plate appearances against right handed batters have resulted in a walk from Kendrick this year; the man keeps the ball in the zone.
- Arenado has hit 15 home runs on the road this year, second only to Nelson Cruz’s 16; two of those came in the three games the Rockies played at Great American Ballpark.
- In Kendrick's time with the Phillies, Arenado has not hit a home run off of him, but he did hit .375 with an RBI, so really it was just a matter of time before he eventually did.
Heat maps of the two’s slugging percentages show some attractive similarities:
Courtesy of FanGraphs
It’s hard to imagine Arenado would ever suggest such a thing -- and Kendrick isn't likely to surrender the time off -- but it would make Kendrick just about the best teammate in the history of baseball.
In all seriousness, Nolan Arenado has earned every right to a spot in the derby, and he shouldn’t pass up the opportunity. The Rockies’ third baseman has played himself into MVP territory to this point in the season, and even with a Gold Glove in each of his years in the majors, he has gone largely uncelebrated across baseball.
The game is just as lucky as the Rockies to have a player like Nolan Arenado. Though the hesitance to mess with his rhythm for the sake of his team is admirable, it's time the kid got a chance to win.