Arenado on pace for history among Rockies’ bevy of award candidates

Sep 3, 2019; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Colorado Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado (28) throws to first for an out in the first inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

The Colorado Rockies are no strangers to individual brilliance. In their 27-year history, the club already boasts Larry Walker’s MVP, Todd Helton’s batting title, Nolan Arenado’s historic streak of Gold Gloves and many more.

Once again, the franchise is in contention for several awards. While no one is likely to garner top-five MVP votes this year, several players are on pace to bring in hardware – including a pair of players that could earn more than one accolade.

Ahead are the contenders and their outlooks for possible honors.

Nolan Arenado

It comes as no surprise that Arenado is once again in multiple award races. In each of the last four seasons, he’s finished as a top-10 MVP vote-getter, Gold Glove and Silver Slugger winner at third base.

The latter two could once again belong to Arenado this year.

In the Gold Glove race, it’s hard to identify a player that’s close to Arenado in the National League. He once again showed why Wednesday:

The ball off the bat of Will Smith was hit 104.8 miles per hour. There’s arguably only one other third baseman in the majors that could make that play. Fortunately for Arenado, Matt Chapman plays in the American League.

By total zone runs, Arenado’s mark of 15 leads the majors. Only Anthony Rendon comes close in the NL (10). His defensive wins above replacement sit at 1.0 but figure to climb as the year finalizes.

On top of a nearly-guaranteed Gold Glove – his seventh to begin his career, extending his record – Arenado is also in the running for another Silver Slugger.

The only competition for him is the aforementioned Rendon – the current favorite for the award. Taking their names out, the numbers lean heavily towards Player B:

Stats courtesy of FanGraphs

In nearly every offensive category that is associated with offensive brilliance, Player B is ahead. That player is Rendon.

For the Nationals, Rendon often gets overlooked following the presence and subsequent departure of Bryce Harper. But, the slugger is the odds-on favorite to win his second Silver Slugger this year. A top-10 MVP finish is also possible.

A Gold Glove and possible Platinum Glove – awarded to the best fielder in the majors – are in Arenado’s future. This year, a Silver Slugger is likely out of reach barring a late comeback.

Trevor Story

Much like his third-base counterpart, Trevor Story is a contender for multiple awards this year.

At shortstop, the 26-year-old has transformed into one of the league’s most complete players. A blend of power, speed and excellence in the field have put Story side-by-side with Arenado as the Rockies’ top player.

Across the NL, Story is once again slated to bring in a Silver Slugger. He leads in wOBA (.377), which measures a hitter’s overall offensive value, offensive WAR (4.8) and also carries the top mark in wRC+ (118). For good measure, he also has the second-most stolen bases (19).

The award is nearly a lock for the second consecutive year.

The real competition for Story this year is for the coveted Gold Glove. Though he’s shown prowess in the field for several years, Nick Ahmed and Brandon Crawford have earned the distinction.

Once again, Ahmed led Story for much of the year in dWAR. Due to a late surge, the latter has caught up as the season’s neared a close. The two are both currently tied at 2.4, though Story has appeared in 12 fewer games.

Story also carries the top range factor (4.34) and fielding percentage (.987) marks in the NL.

Both awards are within reach for the Rockies’ shortstop. The rest of the season will likely determine the Gold Glove race, while the Silver Slugger appears to be inevitable.

Charlie Blackmon

The final entry into the NL awards watch is Charlie Blackmon. Due to the team’s lack of success, he, much like Arenado, will also fail to finish highly in MVP voting. The real chance for the outfielder is in the Silver Slugger conversation.

Currently, Blackmon has a top-five mark among NL outfielders in wOBA (.389), OPS (.946) and slugging (.582).

Both Christian Yelich and Cody Bellinger are the frontrunners for MVP, guaranteeing their spot among outfield Silver Slugger winners. The last spot has Blackmon, Juan Soto, Ketel Marte, Ronald Acuna Jr. and others vying for the nod.

Unfortunately for Blackmon, it’s hard to argue against Acuna. The Braves’ phenom has put together a historic campaign.

For his efforts, Acuna joined the 30/30 club and currently sits at 36 home runs and 33 steals. He became the second-youngest player in league history behind Mike Trout to accomplish the feat. Joining the 40-homer, 40-steal club would make him just the fifth player in league history to do so, regardless of age.

Home-road splits will also be used against Blackmon. At home, he’s slashed an otherworldly .397/.450/.776 compared to .255/.290/.422 on the road.

Fair or not, the discrepancy likely takes him out of the running when compared to a player like Acuna.

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