Nolan Arenado 2021 Outlook: Cardinals Betting, Fantasy Baseball Tips
Nolan Arenado 2021 Outlook with Cardinals Betting, Fantasy Baseball Tips: The St. Louis Cardinals acquired elite third baseman Nolan Arenado from the Colorado Rockies in a salary-dump move. He provides the Redbirds a substantial upgrade at the hot corner, even coming off of a down season at the dish.
Nolan Arenado 2021 Outlook
Arenado’s below-average showing at the plate last year was likely a product of playing through inflammation in the AC joint in his shoulder and a bone bruise. He suffered the injury on a defensive play in the fifth game of the 2020 season.
A healthy Arenado should enjoy a bounce-back campaign at the plate while continuing to play elite defense that resulted in him leading qualified third basemen in Outs Above Average, according to Baseball Savant.
His glovework and a rebound with the stick should help St. Louis contend for the National League Central crown, but are their futures worth wagers? Where does he land in fantasy baseball rankings at the loaded third base position leaving the hitter’s paradise known as Coors Field?
Cardinals MLB Futures Betting Odds with Nolan Arenado
As of Monday, BetMGM lists the Cardinals as the favorites to win the National League Central at +210, +1100 to win the National League, and +2200 to win the World Series.
They finished third in the division last season, with a 30-28 record that was identical to their Pythagorean Win-loss record, per Baseball Reference. The addition of Arenado and probable step forward from youngster Dylan Carlson will help the Cardinals’ quest to rise from a slightly below-average offense, which ranked 19th in wRC+ (96, per FanGraphs), to an above-average one.
The defense was stellar last year, ranking tied for sixth in FanGraphs’ defensive metric. Arenado’s addition will more than soften the blow of non-tendering second baseman Kolten Wong and his above-average defense at the keystone position, lining them up to repeat as an upper-echelon defense.
Their pitching that ranked 18th in SIERA (4.49) will get reinforcements who project to lift them to an above-average group this year.
Overall, the Cardinals are an above-average team on the rise, with the two teams that finished with better records in their division, the Cubs and Reds, poised to take a step back.
The Cardinals are rightful favorites to win the division with a fair betting line. Their roster falls short of worthiness to bet on for winning the National League or World Series, though.
Fantasy Baseball: Nolan Arenado with the Cardinals
Arenado will no longer call MLB’s annual most hitter-friendly park, Coors Field, home. Instead, he’ll now play in a slightly pitcher-friendly park, Busch Stadium, as you can see on ESPN’s MLB Park Factors page. The ballpark factor downgrade’s the primary reason I dropped him from sixth in my third base rankings to eighth.
Leaving the thin Rocky Mountain air shouldn’t be viewed as a death sentence for his fantasy value, though. Mike Petriello of MLB.com penned an informative article analyzing the impact playing in Colorado has on their hitters in road ballparks. The cliff-notes version is hitters who leave the Rockies improve their road numbers, and it would be unwise to treat their road numbers while a member of the Rockies as their true-talent level.
Dan Szymborski’s ZiPS projection for Arenado this year is a .262/.331/.471 slash with 27 homers, 78 runs, 83 RBIs, and two stolen bases in 546 at-bats. I’m more optimistic about his post-Coors outlook.
Hence, Arenado clings to a top-10 ranking as my eighth-ranked third baseman. A pick in the 80-to-90 range is reasonable for Arenado.