In 2009, Arenado hit safely in 27 of his 28 high school games as a senior, batting .529 overall.
Arenado grew up as a baseball prodigy in Lake Forest, a middle-class town in Southern California. He competed against his two brothers and seven cousins, all of whom lived within a 10-minute drive of his home.
The clan played Wiffle Ball at a nearby greenbelt, drove neighbors batty by staging ping-pong tournaments until one in the morning, and annoyed their parents by dunking each other in the backyard pool.
"I always wanted to be the best in my group. I wanted to be the best, too. I mean, we've been going at it constantly since I was five years old. I take a lot of pride in wanting to win and be the best -- all the time."
The Rockies saw raw talent in Arenado, but not professionalism. On a conference call with season-ticket holders in early-July, 2012, former GM Dan O'Dowd said Arenado's "maturity level still hasn't caught up with his ability level."
The words stung.
Nolan had a heart-to-heart with the Rockies' brass. And, rather than pout at perceived slights, Arenado recommitted.
"The Rockies talked about how I needed to come in more mentally prepared. They said if I come in ready, anything can happen. They made it clear they still loved me. It was a good meeting," Arenado recalled, after his big league call-up on April 28, 2013, at age 22.
In the spring of 2010, the Baseball America Prospect Handbook rated Arenado as the 10th-best prospect in the Rockies' organization. They moved him up to #3 in the spring of 2011. And they moved him up to #2 in the winter before 2012 spring camps opened, behind only RHP Drew Pomeranz in the Rockies' farm system.
In 2013, Nolan was named as the #1 prospect in the Rockies' farm system.
In 2010, Nolan finished second in the South Atlantic League in doubles with 41.
In 2011, Arenado led all of Minor League Baseball with 122 RBIs.
- Arenado is a team leader. He plays hard and he plays with a lot of contagious energy. He carries a real passion for baseball, but admits he has been counseled at times to rein in his emotions.
"They told me, 'We like you playing with emotion, but control the emotion,' " Nolan said in May 2012. "I understand that completely, and I know I should, but it's just the fire in me. I expect a lot of myself, and I'm working on it and I'm getting better at it
In November 2011, Arenado was presented with the Arizona Fall League's Joe Black MVP Award.
Arenado is confident and competitive. Like many players, he may go through a few days with low energy, something you really cannot do when you get to the Major Leagues. And Nolan spent too much time wondering when he might get called up to the Majors, especially after June 2012. He watched other players in the Double-A Texas League get promoted, including Tulsa teammate Josh Rutledge in July. During a midseason conference call with Rockies season-ticket holders, GM Dan O'Dowd said that Arenado's "maturity level still hasn't caught up with his ability level," which sent the player into another funk. (Spring 2013)
Born in Newport Beach, Calif., raised in nearby Lake Forest and drafted out of El Toro High School in 2009, Arenado was introduced to the game by his father, Fernando, who gave his son another role model.
"My dad is from Cuba," Arenado said. "Roberto Clemente was one of his favorite players. My dad loved how he always played hard and played for his country. You hear so many great things about him, off the field and on the field, you want to be like Roberto Clemente. He set a very high standard."
Arenado has a living, breathing model for conduct next to him in Colorado's infield. It's Troy Tulowitzki. "I know he's happy for me," Arenado said of Tulowitzki. "He's helped me a lot along the way. He's done so much for me. We try to communicate as much as we can. I'll try to take some of those balls [in the hole] to help him out." (Spencer - mlb.com - 2/20/12)
July 25, 2014: Arenado began a frustrated, head-down jog out after he bounced hard to the Pirates pitcher. But by the time he returned to the bench, after his lack of haste cost the team a baserunner, manager Walt Weiss made it clear frustration is no excuse to not hustle.
Weiss sent Charlie Culberson to play third in the nex inning. Arenado had to watch as the Rockies raced to an 8-1 victory at Coors Field.
Morton did not field Arenado's bouncer cleanly. But because of Arenado's non-hustling start, Morton's throw beat him at first on a close play.
"We've talked a lot about playing the game hard and playing the game right, and how important that is," Weiss said. "Especially when you've been getting your [butt] kicked for a while, it's even more important. It's imperative. So I just felt like Nolan didn't meet that standard at that point."
Arenado was not available after the game, but apologized through a club official and said he would address the incident the next day. (Thomas Harding MLB.com, 7/26/2014)
Nolan plays with a lot of energy.
At RockiesFest before the 2015 season, Arenado was asked, "How do you survive in the offseason, when you're not playing baseball?" His answer: "Well, I play Wiffle Ball."
2015 Spring Training: It's all baseball, all the time, in the house that Arenado rented.
His housemates are his cousin, Rockies Minor League infielder Josh Fuentes; and his younger brother, Jonah Arenado, a 2013 16th-round Draft pick of the Giants who is in that team's Minor League camp.
"It's family," Arenado said. "We can relate to each other. We can be honest with each other. They're learning from me. I'll be learning from them. At the end of the day, they've got to understand that Spring Training is about getting business done. This isn't a vacation. They're learning and getting better."
Standing across the clubhouse from Arenado, veteran pitcherLaTroy Hawkinswas smiling, watching the members of the media crowd around Arenado in the aftermath of Arenado's latest display of big league ability.
"Right there," Hawkins said with a nod toward Arenado in response to the question of the best third baseman he had seen in a 25-year professional baseball career, which has included big league time in 21 of them.
Then came the curveball. Hawkins was asked what he felt was the most impressive thing he had seen Arenado do.
"In 2014, when Walt [Weiss, Rockies manager] pulled him from that [July 25] game for not hustling to first base on that chopper back to the mound," said Hawkins. "He didn't pout. He didn't complain. He turned the page, and you have never seen him do that again."
Nobody will see him do that again. Arenado can guarantee that. "It changed my life," said Arenado. "It was one moment that was never going to happen again. It wasn't right. It wasn't fair to my teammates." (Ringolsby - mlb.com - 6/23/15)
"Dan O'Dowd, former Rockies general manager, challenged me," said Arenado. "He said, `You are not playing as well as you can. You are not getting called up.' What was I going to do? I wasn't going to give up. I was going to prove people wrong. I accepted the challenge. I knew I was better than that."
He is proving it. Arenado may have appeared to be something of an afterthought to All-Star voters in July 2015, but he isn't overlooked by his peers, not with those gaudy offensive numbers. He has baseball instincts. And he has that desire to take on a challenge and prove himself, like he did early in his Minor League career when the talk was that he could hit his way to the big leagues, but most likely he would have to move to first base to cover up defensive deficiencies.
Jerry Weinstein, Arenado's manager at High-A Modesto in 2011, and Scot Fletcher, the Rockies' roving Minor League instructor at the time, offered advice, and Arenado listened.
"Speed is God-given," he said. "I'm not fast. But my lateral movement and first step could get better, and I worked on that. Scot Fletcher and Jerry Weinstein were big influences, changing the way I field. Even now, with my trainer, I work on that first step and lateral movement in the winter."
"Nolan is entering that status, becoming an elite player in this league," said Rockies manager Walt Weiss. "He hasn't played in an All-Star Game yet, so he definitely needs to do that."
It would be nice, said Arenado, but it is not his decision. It is, however, another challenge that is being dangled for Arenado. And he has already proven he can handle the challenges that have been thrown at him in baseball. (Ringolsby - mlb.com - 6/23/15)
During an interview on "Intentional Talk," Nolan was asked what was his hidden talent. He responded that it was ping pong. He said it was a huge deal in his family. They were always having very competitive family tournaments.
Arenado had a mammoth 2015 season that was obscured somewhat by Colorado's struggles. He led the Majors in RBIs (130) and total bases (354), while earning his third straight National League Gold Glove Award.
Born in Newport Beach, Arenado was introduced to the game by his father, Fernando.
Superstar shortstop Troy Tulowitzki also had a big hand in shaping Arenado before he was dealt to Toronto in 2015.
"[Tulowitzki] helped me in so many ways," Arenado said. "I was fortunate to play next to him and learn so much."
Respectful of the game and his good fortune, Arenado is now a terrific role model in the manner of those who helped shape him. (Spencer - MLB.com - 3/10/16)
Nolan reflects on his being in middle school when younger and remembers that part of his life fondly and vividly.
Arenado understands that stage of adolescence is where teens are often still seeking their true identity, and as such, peer negativity is often a byproduct. Doing his part to steer kids towards a more positive well-being, Arenado spent a morning at a suburban Denver middle school sharing and taking in stories of positivity as part of the Rockies' Home Run for Kindness program.
"The people of Denver have been great to me, so it's the right thing to come back and do the right thing for the kids," Arenado said. "People think this is a sacrifice, you know, I'm sacrificing my time. This isn't a sacrifice of my time."
Random Acts of Kindness Foundation (RAKF) is an internationally-recognized nonprofit. The Rockies remain the first and only professional sports team RAKF has worked with. Rockies owner and CEO Dick Monfort took initiative in contacting Denver-based RAKF in light of several school shootings with the premise that spreading positively-induced psychology to young students could make a difference. "The Rockies have been amazing. They've embraced us in a way I didn't expect," said Brooke Jones, vice president for RAKF.
Arenado and teammate Ben Paulsen have become the latest ambassadors—or 'RAKtivisits'—to represent the team in the RAKF initiative. Each voyaged to separate schools. Rocky Top Middle School, where Arenado visited, has adopted the RAKF's Kindness Curriculum, which incorporates lessons of respect, perseverance and other values that in turn help foster positive relationships.
Arenado spent the morning taking in the various stories the students and teachers had to share while perusing the halls as a rockstar of sorts. Kids leaned from classrooms just to get a glimpse of the Gold Glover, one even yelling from afar: "That's the best third baseman in the league!"
Arenado spent more than the planned time at Rocky Top before heading to Coors Field for Tuesday's game against the D-backs. But he was fine with devoting a little extra time knowing his appearance was a special occasion that could impact many youngsters in a positive way—perhaps more than he could imagine.
"I'm a big believer in random acts of kindness. I'm a big believer in spreading positivity because there are so many negative things in the world and there's negative things in baseball. It's a hard game, so to have any little boost of confidence—whatever it is—it makes a huge difference." (Kramer - MLB.com - 5/10/16)
June 3, 2016: Arenado's first-inning dugout tirade will be the enduring image from a 4-0 loss to the Padres, but it's the bad baseball that preceded and followed it, not the emotion, that the Rockies know they must address. Nolan said he was frustrated, and his outburst—which came after Matt Kemp's three-run homer off a first-pitch fastball from Chris Rusin gave the Padres a 3-0 lead through one inning—was not directed at anyone.
Although internet lip-readers made out "fastball" among the words that spewed from Arenado's lips, he insisted he wasn't yelling at Rusin or catcher Nick Hundley, who stepped in front of Arenado and became his audience.
Arenado offered no specifics, noting, "I can't really repeat a lot of that."
"Just frustrated, just losing gets kind of old," Arenado said. "I'm frustrated with myself. I wasn't yelling at Hundley. I was just yelling in general. Frustration got the best of me. If I was going to do it, I probably should've done it in the tunnel. I got frustrated. I let it out. The boys know I love them. Matt Kemp hit the homer, but I wasn't yelling at Rus—Rus competed his butt off today. I'm very proud of him."
Hundley said, "My view of it is when your best player cares as much as Nolan does, that's a very positive thing. Whether it comes across in the way he plays, in the locker room, being passionate about the work, about his swing, being passionate about the Rockies winning, those are all things that manifest themselves. You see a short clip, it's easy to think the wrong thing."
Manager Walt Weiss, who arrived at the dugout scene along with third-base coach Stu Cole, had no problem with his best player letting off steam, even if it was in front of fans with a good vantage point or the television cameras.
"I don't mind if it's in front of anybody," Weiss said. "It wasn't directed at anybody. Let him have his say, then there was a point where I said, 'OK, let's go. Let's turn the page and let's move on.'" (T Harding - MLB.com - June 4, 2016).
Arenado believes improvement starts in the mirror. Arenado and the Rockies were coming homestand that saw them lose three of four to the Reds, who had the third-fewest wins in the Majors. There is plenty of blame to go around, and Arenado doesn't mind shouldering his share.
"I need to play better," said Arenado, who was tied with the White Sox's Todd Frazier and the Orioles' Mark Trumbo for the Majors' home run lead with 17. "I haven't been playing the way I would like to play. It's frustrating. As a team we're losing, and it kind of hurts because I feel I could be helping the team in more ways than I am right now. But everyone's got to play their part. I don't think we're developing the runs that we're capable of doing. Obviously, we can hit home runs, but there's more to hitting and there's more to winning than that.
"It's part of baseball," he said. "We've still got four months. We have a lot of games yet. You can't be nitpicking in May. Obviously, we've got to win ballgames and it's not OK to lose a lot. We still have a lot of baseball left. We haven't clicked yet. We haven't been able to put anything together yet. We've had spurts of it. We've had games where we've done some good things. The next game, we kind of fell asleep." (T Harding - MLB.com - June 4, 2016)
Nolan seems to be developing an awareness. He has certainly grabbed the attention of Rockies coach Rene Lachemann, who is in his 54th consecutive year in uniform, and Phillies bench coach Larry Bowa, who has been in the big leagues as a player, coach and manager for 45 of the last 47 years.
At a Boy Scout banquet earlier this season, Lachemann was asked his favorite big league player. "I used to think nobody could ever match Brooks [Robinson]," he replied, and then went into detail about the exploits of Arenado. "I've seen him do something and say, 'I've never seen that before,' and the next game I'm saying it again," said Lachemann.
When that story was related to Bowa, he laughed. "I was like that with Schmidty," Bowa said of his long-time Phillies teammate Mike Schmidt. Then along came Arenado.
"I don't know if he knows it, but my favorite player is the third baseman [in Colorado]," said Bowa. "Playing on the East Coast [with the Phillies] I go home and turn on the Rockies game and watch him. My wife said, "What are you doing watching Colorado?' I told her, 'I love to watch this kid play third.' I just turn it on to see him. If by chance we're on the West Coast, I watch the highlights because I know he's going to be on sometime. Somewhere, he's going to be on for a play or a base hit."
It is not just Arenado's skills that get the attention of others. "I like to see guys who are hard workers, who respect the game, don't take it for granted," said Bowa. "Everyone thinks you get a big league uniform, you're going to be here for 10 years. It doesn't work like that. The longer you're here, the harder you have to work. So when I see work ethic, I respect that."
And Arenado respects the fact that people like Lachemann and Bowa hold him with such high regard.
"They have been in this game a long time and have seen so many great players," Arenado said. "For them to talk about me like that is humbling. It is an incentive for me to work harder. When people respect you like that you don't want to let them down." Arenado hasn't. (Ringolsby - MLB.com - 8/21/16)
September 2016: During an interview, it was discovered that Arenado's hobby growing up was surfing.
Nolan played high school baseball with future MLB player Austin Romine.
In November 2016, Arenado announced that he will play for Team USA in the 2017 World Baseball Classic. Arenado had a choice, since his mother is from Puerto Rico.
Nolan fell in love with the World Baseball Classic early. In spring 2017, he finally got to play in it. The tournament had everything to pique a young Arenado's interest. It had baseball and countries representing everything he identified with. Arenado, who is American, was born to a Puerto Rican mother and a Cuban father. When Cuba made the inaugural final against Japan in 2006, it was a big deal in the Arenado house. Nolan was just 14 at the time.
They threw what Arenado now calls "basically like a Super Bowl party" at their house in Southern California for the final, which Japan won, 10-6. "There were Cuban cigars being smoked out in the backyard, and lots of homemade Cuban food," Arenado writes in a recent piece for The Players' Tribune. "The party vibe died down in a hurry, and I just remember a couple of my family members being really sad. It was like their team had lost the World Series. This meant something to them. It was important. They took it hard."
Arenado was amped up about representing his country for the first time, and he will play a major role for an American squad looking to advance past the second round for the first time in their World Baseball Classic history. "My parents are both extremely proud to be American citizens, and they raised me to take pride in being from this country. I grew up in Southern California, not too far from Dodger Stadium. And my entire family loves baseball." (Trezza - mlb.com - 3/9/17)
After crushing a pair of home runs through the heavy spring air, Nolan actually gave credit to unlikely sources for his performance. His father, Fernando, and El Toro High School coach Mike Gonzales.
The Rockies had their first off-day of the 2017 season April 17th and Arenado used it to go back to his high school in Lake Forest, about 50 miles south of Dodger Stadium. "Honestly, I have to give credit to my dad and my high school coach," Arenado said. "I went to hit with them yesterday back at my old field. I was working on some things, fixing some things. And today I was able to do it."
Back when he played at El Toro, he was a shortstop and catcher. He was only rated the 31st best prospect in California in 2009. But he's been nothing but a sensation since joining the Rockies' lineup as a 22-year-old.
And there's nothing like hitting a pair of home runs off Hyun-Jin Ryu and then almost making a remarkable play charging Pederson's bouncer and throwing on the run to just miss him at first.
"It had a lot of spin on it," he said. "If I would have gripped it right and thrown harder, I think I might have got him. It was just a tough play." (Dilbeck - mlb.com - 4/18/17)
July 2, 2017: Arenado received his first invite to the MLB All-Star game.
Nolan, the NL's starting third baseman, went 2-for-2 in the 2017 All-Star Game. In his third trip to the game. Arenado became the first Rockies All-Star to ever record two hits in the game and tied Todd Helton, Troy Tulowitzki and Dante Bichette for the club's career All-Star hits record.
"It feels great," Arenado said. "Obviously you wish you could hit homers in the All-Star Game and this and that, but when you start seeing some nasty offspeed and stuff, you think, 'All right, I need to shorten up.' … I was just happy to get a couple hits." (Berry - mlb.com - 7/11/17)
Feb 9, 2018: Nolan Arenado and his family of baseball players hosted a pickup game in the street. But because one of the participants was a Major Leaguer, the other participants wanted to make sure it was an even game. So, the three-time All-Star was prompted to hit lefty when he wasn't taking turns playing catcher, propped up on a cooler.
Arenado, a big pickup baseball fan, was joined by his cousin Josh Fuentes, who provided us with a Periscope of the game that took place in the middle of the street. Fuentes, a third baseman in the Rockies organization, offered some commentary to the audience of over 500 viewers. Nolan's brother Jonah, a third baseman in the Giants system, played with the guys as well.
One viewer asked if "Nolan was in the lineup today," and Arenado couldn't help but smile and laugh amidst the live stream -- of course he was in the lineup. The group also did a tremendous job avoiding cars that were driving by.(J Kleinschmidt - MLB.com - Feb 9, 2018)
April 14-19, 2018: Four players were suspended and three more fined as the result of the benches-clearing altercation at Coors Field between the Padres and Rockies. Colorado's Nolan Arenado received a five-game ban for his role (along with the Padres Predomo) as primary instigators of the fracas.
Arenado dropped his appeal and begins serving his suspension Saturday in Washington; he'll be eligible to return in the series opener against the Cubs at Coors Field.
July 2018 : Arenado was selected to play in the MLB All-Star game.
July 3, 2018 : Chucky. Robert. All those little creepy aliens from "Toy Story." The world is filled with living, supernaturally powered dolls if you know where to look. And there's a new one who is making his presence felt in the general vicinity of Coors Field: He is the miniature version of Nolan Arenado and he has (home run) power beyond your wildest dreams.
We were first introduced to Nolito a little over two weeks ago -- 18 games, to be exact. There they were: The larger, fleshier Arenado sitting back, looking at his phone, while the mini-Nolan was swaddled up in a blanket with headphones and his own cellphone. Yes, even living dolls need to check Twitter, it seems.
So, while Arenado was having a fantastic season before being introduced to the doll, he's picked up the pace. Check it out: Pre-doll: .307/.399/.537, 12 HR in 268 PAPost-doll: .329/.393/.822, 10 HR in 84 PAHis latest came on Tuesday night in the Rockies' 8-1 victory against the Giants. Arenado went 2-for-4 with the latest of those 10 dingers that you can watch at the top of this post.After taking the knee-high pitch and depositing it to dead-center field, Arenado rounded the paces and hollered with joy.
That's kind of his thing -- his brand, if you will. After making Ross Stripling almost leap out of his uniform when he golfed the curve out of the yard, Arenado gave another scream:
But, and hear me out, what if the reason he screams is because the Arenado doll came to life and started playing for the Rockies? What if he's able to expertly mimic Arenado's swing and high-flying defense, but has yet to master human speech? Is that not completely out of the realm of possibility? I mean, just look at this. Is this not a living doll learning how his anatomy works?
OK, fine, Arenado is probably the real-life, human version of himself. And his recent hot streak is most likely not connected to the eldritch powers of his miniature doll. But we can't say for 100 percent certain. Even Arenado himself isn't entirely convinced. When asked if there was a connection between the doll -- who now lives somewhere in the training room -- and his power surge, Arenado said, "No," before adding, "But ... actually maybe. I don't know. Maybe." (Cut4-MLB)
June 2009: Nolan signed with the Rockies for a bonus of $625,000 after they chose him in the second round of the draft, out of El Toro High School in Lake Forest, California. Jon Lukens is the scout who signed him.
January 15, 2016: The Rockies and Arenado avoided arbitration, agreeing on a one-year deal for $5 million.
- January 13, 2017: Arenado and the Rockies again avoided arbitration and agreed on a two-year, $29.5 million contract. Nolan got $11.75 million in 2017 and $17.75 million in 2018.