St. Louis Cardinals: Arenado NL Player of the Week on way to MVP?

ST LOUIS, MO - APRIL 10: Nolan Arenado #28 of the St. Louis Cardinals hits a two-run home run against the Pittsburgh Pirates in the first inning at Busch Stadium on April 10, 2022 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
ST LOUIS, MO - APRIL 10: Nolan Arenado #28 of the St. Louis Cardinals hits a two-run home run against the Pittsburgh Pirates in the first inning at Busch Stadium on April 10, 2022 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) /

On Monday, MLB announced that Houston Astros third baseman Alex Bregman and St. Louis Cardinals third baseman Nolan Arenado were named as the American League and National League Player of the Week, respectively, for the first week of 2022.

Both players have been on a tear since Opening Day, with both having two dingers and .400-plus batting averages to start off the season (heading into Tuesday’s action). Arenado, however, sat right at the .500 mark, with five extra-base hits and seven RBI (most in MLB thus far).

After slightly plateauing in his debut season with the St. Louis Cardinals, it looks like Nolan Arenado is quickly adjusting to his new home.

Cardinals fans have quickly fallen in love with him (and already have hope that he is an MVP-candidate) and with the Cardinals being one of the most established organization in baseball, does Arenado have a chance to market himself as a candidate for MVP?

Arenado, 30, has had a tremendous career so far. In nine seasons, Arenado has hit 271 dingers and logged 872 RBI. He had made six appearances in the All-Star Game, won five Silver Sluggers, and has been the NL home run leader three times.

Furthermore, Arenado is easily one of the best third basemen defensively in all of baseball and arguable one of the best in history. In his career, Arenado has won nine Gold Gloves, five Platinum Gloves, and three Wilson Defensive Player of the Year awards.

However, the road hasn’t been necessarily been easy for Arenado. After playing in Colorado for eight seasons, the Rockies only had two seasons over .500 and won the Wild Card game in Chicago in 2018 before being swept by Milwaukee in the NLDS. Between the lack of success and Colorado being a smaller-market team, Arenado made it clear in 2020 that he was unhappy with the Rockies.

"“There is a lot of disrespect from people there that I don’t want to be a part of,” Arenado said in a text to MLB writer Thomas Harding. “You can quote that.”"

Arenado never fully clarified why he was frustrated with his former team, but looking at his career, it would make sense. Arenado was an incredible player for Colorado and had many years where he was in-the-running for MVP. Yet, he was never seriously considered to win such a big award.

In his career, Arenado has made the top 10 in the MVP voting five times (2015-2019), with three of those years in the top five (2016-2018). Many people pleaded their case throughout those years as to why Arenado deserved to receive more recognition, but between the “Coors Field effect” belief and the small-market team, it was be difficult for Arenado to truly stand out.

But, the situation for Arenado is different now. In 2021, Nolan Arenado was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals, which would immediately help him receive more attention for the third baseman. With the Cardinals nearly-always in the playoff chatter and their dedicated and large fanbase, this allows Arenado to make an MVP-case in a much easier way.

Last season, Arenado didn’t quite have the numbers that he has had previous seasons. In 2021, Arenado slashed .255/.312/.494, which still earned him a spot in the All-Star Game. But, this also took him out-of-the-running for MVP.

But this season looks much different for the third baseman, as he is off to an incredible start for the Cardinals. So, with the different atmosphere, does Arenado have a change to finally win MVP?

Arenado has had one of the best careers for active players and could definitely make himself an MVP-candidate. Arenado did everything that he could in Colorado, but circumstances that were out-of-his-control prevented him from winning such a prestigious award. Now that those setbacks are gone, the door is wide open for him to set himself apart.

The Cardinals have produced numerous MVPs (such as Albert Pujols, who is now back with the Cardinals) and are well-recognized among the world of baseball. Their fans are known as the “Best Fans In Baseball”, abbreviated as B.F.I.B., (even though they can sometimes be seen as annoying) and are always present even when the Cards are in a slump. Therefore, this makes the Cardinals constantly relevant and there’s always a need for them in the media.

Furthermore, the National League is missing one of the most hyped-up players: Fernando Tatis Jr. His absence allows others to make a run for MVP candidates all over the National League, which would include Nolan Arenado.

Obviously, Arenado won’t be hitting .500 for the entire season. However, if he can keep that momentum up and stay consistent (especially towards the end of the year), Cardinals fans will make sure that he will get the recognition that he deserves.

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So, if Arenado has stats that are close to his Rockies’ years, he could find himself fighting for the MVP title. The excuses of “Coors effect” or a Denver-sized-market is no longer a setback, so perhaps this is his year that he will finally win NL MVP.