• Devin Davis

Fantasy Takeaways: Nolan Arenado to the Cardinals

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For quite some time, Nolan Arenado has been garnered as a first or second round pick when it comes to fantasy baseball. From 2015-2019, Arenado averaged 39.8 homers and 124.2 RBI. However, he experienced a slight dip in production in 2020 due to a shoulder issue. Heading into 2021, Arenado carried a third round average draft position. And that was before this move to St. Louis.

Assuming the trade gets completed, this will be another hit to Arenado's fantasy value. Arenado will be moving from one of the best parks for hitters to a mediocre park. This raises some concerns for me heading into the 2021 season. When you examine his career number outside of Coors Field, they leave a lot to be desired. He is only hitting .263 with a .793 OPS away from home. Contrast that to his home numbers of a .322 BA with a .985 OPS and you can see why there might be some Arenado fantasy pause.

Coors Field is known for producing players with a high Batting Average on Balls In Play (BABIP) thus inflating the player's Batting Average. Considering Arenado only posted a .253 BA in 2020, there could be some concern for regression when it comes to Busch Stadium.

Of course, these numbers don't tell the whole story. There are extenuating factors that come into play when the Rockies travel on road games and leave the thin air. I suspect that his 2021 numbers will fall into a happy medium between his career home and away splits. Given this prediction, I still will enjoy a draft day value when it comes to Arenado. Perhaps he slides into the late 4th round/early 5th round and I will gladly select him with the discount. There are still a lot of question marks surrounding Arenado and his recovery from his shoulder injury; however, he should still provide solid power and RBI numbers in a formidable lineup in St. Louis. And this year, you get that production 35 picks later. Sign me up.

In Colorado, it is difficult to say how they will replace Arenado in the lineup. I anticipate that Ryan McMahon and Garrett Hampson will see an increase in playing time. (Yes, we are doing the Garrett Hampson thing again.) Former top prospect Brendan Rodgers could also see some playing time which would excite some prospect gurus that have been eager to him after dealing with his shoulder issues. It is always tough to predict when it comes to Colorado, but I will be all over Garrett Hampson yet again.