Rockies’ superstar third baseman Nolan Arenado has committed to playing for Team USA in the upcoming World Baseball Classic. Arenado’s announcement on Sunday capped an exciting week for Team USA, who officially added Max Scherzer, Adam Jones, and Chris Archer to the roster.
He’ll be taking playing the hot corner, where he just received his fourth straight Gold Glove award. Arenado is widely regarded as the best defensive third baseman in the game and is the one to win a Gold Glove in each of his first four seasons in the major leagues. He also added the Wilson Defensive Player of the Year and the Fielding Bible Award for best Major Leaguer at his position to his trophy case.
The accolades keep piling up for the 25-year-old, who earned his second straight Silver Slugger award after hitting 41 homers and knocking in a league-best 133 runs in 2016. While the home run numbers may be inflated due to playing at Coors Field, it’s no doubt that Arenado is a legitimate MVP candidate, and will likely finish in the top three in voting this season.
Committing to Team USA wasn’t an easy choice for Arenado, who had to decide between the states and Puerto Rico, where his mother is from. However, Arenado was born in the U.S., and the chance of representing the colors of his country was enough to sway him into playing for Team USA.
“Obviously, Puerto Rico means a lot to me because of my mom. But the U.S. is the country I was born in, and I’ve never had a chance to represent Team USA and represent the country,” said Arenado. “I want to represent those colors and represent the country I was born in.”
Arenado’s commitment does not decide Kris Bryant’s fate, who appeared on the preliminary roster and was believed to be the starting third baseman for Team USA. The Cubs’ superstar and MVP front-runner are capable of playing the outfield as well, so it is possible that we could see two of the best hitters in the National League batting back-to-back when the competition starts.
Another piece of the Team USA puzzle has been set in place, as Arenado will take his spot at third and join the Orioles’ Adam Jones in center, and Nationals’ Max Scherzer and Rays’ Chris Archer on the mound.
The 2017 edition of the World Baseball Classic is set to begin at the start of March. Get to know Team USA thus far, as well as other WBC news here at Inscriber Digital Magazine.