Matt Holliday, another former Rockie turned St. Louis Cardinal, doesn’t buy the Nolan Arenado skepticism.
Holliday himself was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals, but not straight from the hitter-friendly confines of Coors Field. The seven-time All-Star didn’t even play a full season for the Oakland Athletics, breaking up his time in Colorado and an eventual move to Busch Stadium. Nonetheless, he understands some of the doubt surrounding Arenado as he moves to the NL Central, as he lived much of it first-hand.
Still, Holliday insists that Arenado is a different type of player, one that doesn’t rely solely on the altitude of Denver. Instead, Arenado is a line-drive hitter, one who will play well at any ballpark.
“He’s just always thinking about baseball, and I think that’ll fit in to what Cardinals fans love,” said Holliday, a former Cardinals outfielder from 2009-16, to FOX2 St. Louis. “He’s not a big fly ball hitter, he’s not a guy who skies the ball into the air to trust the altitude to take over.”
Does Matt Holliday have a point about Nolan Arenado?
Yes and no. Arenado is tremendous defensive third baseman, and given his value in that regard, and the fact that the Cardinals got him for a rather cheap asking price, it was a smart move. Yet, saying Arenado didn’t benefit from playing at Coors’ Field is a fallacy, just look at the numbers.
FanSided’s own David Salituro pointed that out in his examination of Arenado’s Coors Field effect: “Since 2016, Arenado is batting just .269 with a .827 OPS on the road. At home, he’s a .322 hitter (53 points higher) with an OPS of .985. He hits a home run in 6.5 percent of his at-bats at home; on the road, that declines to 5.4 percent.”
So, yes, Arenado brings plenty to St. Louis even without his bat, and he’s worth the contract the Rockies gave to him. Not to mention, the overall market price for a player of Arenado’s caliber has only increased since he signed his extension.
On the other hand, however, ignoring that Arenado played in an MLB hitter’s heaven since 2013 is a fallacy.