Can Nolan Arenado conquer the unfriendly confines of Busch Stadium?


Nolan Arenado: A switch from Coors to Busch

Nolan Arenado

Those who thought Nolan Arenado’s otherworldly offensive numbers would come down to Earth once he left Coors Field will certainly take interest in how he fares this season.

Indeed, the former Colorado Rockies third baseman and three-time National League home run champ now faces the spacious dimensions of Busch Stadium in his first season as a St. Louis Cardinal after eight in the thin air of Denver’s Coors Field, where he regularly rang up MVP-like numbers.

His stats through his first month with his new team are less than impressive. Through 21 games, the five-time All-Star was hitting .253 with four homers, a .303 on-base percentage and an .749 OPS. And his numbers at Busch, the decidedly hitter-unfriendly park where he will be playing half his games this season, are also underwhelming: .235 average, two homers, .297 OBP and a .768 OPS in nine contests.

Arenado’s career stats, however, tell a tale of two different players. Over eight seasons at Coors, he hit .322 with 136 homers, a .376 OBP and an OPS of .985. Everywhere else: .263 with 99 dingers, .322 and .793. But within that are 24 career games at Busch prior to 2021, in which he had five homers, an OBP of .337 and an OPS of .848, numbers more in line with his Coors stats.

So is he the product of Coors Field or is he a devastating hitter no matter where he plays? Certainly, a full 162-game season at Busch will help answer the question.

Arenado and the Cardinals can be seen in action Sunday, May 16, when they conclude a three-game road series against the San Diego Padres in a game airing on ESPN.

Player Profile

Nolan Arenado

Full name: Nolan James Arenado

Birth date: April 16, 1991

Birthplace: Newport Beach, Calif.

Height/weight: 6 feet 2 inches/215 pounds

Teams: Colorado Rockies (2013-20); St. Louis Cardinals (2021-present)

Position: Third base

Bats/throws: Right/right

No.: 28

Honors and achievements: Five-time All-Star (2015-19); eight-time Gold Glove winner (2013-20); four-time Silver Slugger Award (2015-18); three-time NL home run leader (2015, 2016, 2018); two-time NL RBI leader (2015, 2016); won gold with Team USA in the All-World Baseball Classic (2017)

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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