Chicago Cubs: A deeper look into the great debate, Bryant versus Arenado
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I’d take Bryant over Arenado. I won’t completely blame Coors Field for Arenado’s numbers, but it is an advantage. Offense at Wrigley Field truly depends on the wind most days, especially in the summer. It can be like Coors Field or it can seem like Petco Park in San Diego.
Defensively, Arenado is clearly the superior player, but, as stated above, Bryant has proven to be a solid defensive player who is versatile. Having someone who can play multiple positions is valuable. For those who think runs batted in matter, Mike Trout has only surpassed 100 RBI twice in his career and he’s a two-time AL MVP and considered one of the top-two players in baseball.
Runs batted in don’t matter
Yes, Arenado is killing Bryant in the RBI total but that isn’t all Bryant’s fault. On the year, Bryant’s wRC+ is 23 points higher than the Rockies’ star. The old-school thinking, though, has led to some ‘interesting’ Twitter exchanges.
Simply put, the Cubs aren’t the same team they were last year. In several measures, last year’s championship club was historically efficient. So, with that step back, the run-scoring opportunities aren’t just falling in players laps in 2017.
At this point, we haven’t even delved into Bryant’s OPS. Thanks to a .401 on-base percentage (which would be a new career-high), he’s nearly in-line with his .939 OPS from a year ago. Arenado, meanwhile, edges him at .953 on the year.
The final thoughts
If we’re being honest, it comes down to this.
Bryant is essentially having the same season as last year when he won the MVP honors – minus the runs batted in. The fact the Cubs’ third baseman didn’t earn the fan vote for the All-Star Game hardly means he isn’t one of the league’s top talents, either.
Suffice to say, both Kris Bryant and Nolan Arenado are elite talents. Suggesting otherwise is ridiculous – so let’s just stop doing it.