2021 Projection Series - Nolan Arenado


Please check out the Projections Primer, to see how I come about getting these projections.


Prior to getting started, I want to take a look at the last three years of Nolan Arenado's career and his total career numbers, showing the statistics that I utilize in my projections.

The 2020 season is our most recent sample size and professional sports are often reduced to a "what have you done for me lately" business. Here is his 2020 season (majors only) separated from the rest 1) to highlight it and 2) to more easily come back to it for comparison purposes.


2020

201 PA - .253/.303/.434/.738

9 doubles, 0 triples, 8 homers

23 runs, 26 RBI, 0 SB, 0 CS


This year, I plan to incorporate a couple of (I hope) interesting items to go along with the mean (average) projection. I am going to be adding in "THE GOOD" (an everything goes right)" projection and "THE BAD” (an everything went wrong)" projection prior to giving THE CERUTTI (my actual projection). THE GOOD is basically if a player is 10% better in a few of the listed categories while THE BAD is basically if a player is 10% worse in a few of the listed categories - based on THE CERUTTI projection, which is my 50th percentile-type projection that gets made every year by other projection services like STEAMER or ZiPS.

THE GOOD

(Best case)

715 PA - .324/.396/.595/.990

40 doubles, 2 triples, 42 homers

114 runs, 128 RBI, 3 SB, 2 CS


So 1) I don't believe that he will get 715 plate appearances, 2) I don't believe that he'll both continue and improve on his Coors numbers at Busch Stadium, and 3) if he does we're gunning for 100 wins in the NL Central division as currently constructed.


THE BAD

(worst case)

591 PA - .265/.329/.486/.816

27 doubles, 1 triples, 29 homers

77 runs, 87 RBI, 2 SB, 1 CS


So this is pretty nice here still. I like that his low end projection from my system gives him what we wish Marcell Ozuna had done consistently in St. Louis. HIS LOW END DOES. Sadly, I think this will be closer to what he actually does in Busch III compared to Coors than THE GOOD suggests.


THE CERUTTI

(my system projection)

650 PA - .295/.363/.540/.904

33 doubles, 2 triples, 35 homers

94 runs, 106 RBI, 2 SB, 2 CS

Nolan Arenado was a big get this offseason for the St. Louis Cardinals. He is projected in my system to be the best hitter St. Louis has seen in a while, including what Goldschmidt has accomplished in St. Louis when we're talking combination of average and power and everything all at once.


I believe that his actual 2021 line will straddle THE CERUTTI and THE BAD and come in closer to a .280/.345/.505/.850 type output, which would still be fantastic. We're still looking at 30 doubles a handful of triples and 30+ homers with 85-90 runs scored and 95-100 RBI in that scenario.


I do want to point out what I believe to be reasons that he might actually be better than that, though. He is built for the big time. In a batting order, Arenado has hit best when he's been relied upon - as a 3 and 4 hitter. He's at his best with 2 outs in his career. He's at his best with men on and runners on base. He's at his best with 2 outs and RISP. He's been better in medium and high leverage situations than low ones.


Link back to all of my projections.