Greetings. I’m continuing my series of in-depth report cards for individual Cardinals based on their performance in 2022. I’m still making my way through the position players. These breakdowns take time, and I apologize for my deliberate (read: slow) pace in getting them out to you.

So far I’ve offered reports on catchers Yadier Molina and Andrew Knizner, first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, second baseman Nolan Gorman, left fielder Tyler O’Neill, middle infielder Tommy Edman and right fielder Lars Nootbaar.

Coming soon: Brendan Donovan, Juan Yepez, Dylan Carlson, Paul DeJong and Corey Dickerson. I’ll do DeJong and Dickerson in one file to help speed things along.

NEXT UP: third baseman Nolan Arenado.

THE QUESTION: Does ‘Nado warrant an “A” or a “B plus?” Hint … this ain’t too difficult.

THE OVERVIEW: Arenado had an exceptional second season in St. Louis, improving in virtually all offensive categories, winning another Gold Glove and Silver Slugger award, being awarded another Platinum Glove, being chosen as the NL’s starting third baseman in All-Star game fan voting, and finishing third in the baseball writers’ vote for the Most Valuable Player in the National League.

THE OFFENSE: Arenado batted .293 with 30 homers, 103 RBI, 42 doubles, a .533 slugging percentage and .891 OPS. In OPS+ – which adjusts for league and park effects – Arenado came in at 54 percent above league average offensively, the best of his career. He put up bigger raw numbers during all of those seasons of hitting at Coors Field, but when the numbers are neutralized to take away built-in advantages, his 154 OPS+ ranked No. 1 in his 10 seasons.

– Arenado led the NL in WAR (7.4) per Baseball Reference and was second in the league in WAR (7.3) per FanGraphs.

— In 2022 Arenado finished fourth in MLB on the Total Runs leaderboard devised by the great Bill James. The metric calculates a total value for each player based on his contributions on offense and on defense. There are four elements to Total Runs: runs created, runs saved, baserunning runs, and a positional adjustment that enables a comparison of players across positions. The top four in Total Runs in 2022 were Shohei Ohtani (199), Aaron Judge (176), Trea Turner (142) and Arenado (140.) Cardinal first baseman Paul Goldschmidt was seventh overall with 138 Total Runs.

— Among qualifying NL third basemen Arenado ranked first in RBI and slugging, was second in batting average, onbase percentage, OPS, extra-base hits and OPS+, and third in home runs.

— Among NL qualifying NL hitters Arenado was tied for second in slugging, third in doubles, third in OPS+, fourth in RBI, fourth in wRC+, sixth in batting average, ninth in onbase percentage (.358) and tied for 11th in homers.

— In 2022 Arenado became the only third baseman in Cardinals franchise history to post two seasons of 30 or more homers in a season. He had 34 in 2021 and 30 this past season. Scott Rolen, Ken Boyer and Fernando Tatis Sr. are the only other Cards third basemen to launch 30 or more HRs in a season. They each did it one time.

— Since 1900 the Cardinals have received 100 or more RBIs in a season from a primary third baseman only 13 times. Arenado made that list in 2021. But in 2022 he joined Whitey Kurowski, Ray Jablonski, Boyer and Rolen in the select group of Cardinal third basemen that have two 100+ RBI seasons.

— Though he’s played only two seasons for St. Louis, Arenado already ranks 5th in franchise history for most career WAR by a third baseman. The top five: Boyer (58.1), Rolen (25.9), Kurowski (24.7), Terry Pendleton (15.1) and Arenado (12.0).

HOME IMPROVEMENTS: This was one of the top highlights of Arenado’s 2022 season. Frustrated by the pitcher-friendly environment at Busch Stadium in his first season as a Cardinal, Arenado expressed his determination to win the second round. And he did.

– Arenado’s .282 home batting average was a 54-point increase from 2021.

– His .349 home OBP was a 62-point upturn from 2021.

– After slugging .435 at Busch in 2021, Arenado boosted his home slug by 74 points, to .509, in ‘22.

– His home OPS went from .722 in 2021 to .858 this past season.

Well done, sir.

MUCH BETTER AGAINST RIGHT-HANDED PITCHING: After hitting .245 with a .472 slug and .778 OPS against righties in 2021, Arenado batted .303 with a .512 and .879 against them in 2022. Per wRC+, Arenado was five percent above league average offensively vs. right-handers in 2021 – and jumped to 49% above league average vs. RHP in 2022.

DELIVERING IN THE SO-CALLED CLUTCH: In 183 plate appearances with runners in scoring position this past season Arenado batted .290 with a .377 OBP and .5-3 slug for a .880 OPS. He was also 42 percent above league average offensively in his hitting performance in high-leverage situations.

HANDLING THE TOP PITCHERS: Per Bill James, Arenado did very well in 2022 when facing pitchers that had a 3.50 ERA or better, hitting .292 with a .798 OPS. That was one of the best showings in the majors in that category. And when going against the second-best level of pitchers this past season – who had an ERA between 3.51 and 4.25 – Arenado batted a blistering .389 with a 1.129 OPS.

Oct 3, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; St. Louis Cardinals third baseman Nolan Arenado (28) at the batting cage before the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports


THE DEFENSE NEVER RESTS: In his first 10 MLB seasons Arenado has gone 10-for-10 in winning the Gold Glove as the NL’s best-fielding third baseman. During his 10-year run of hot-corner supremacy, Arenado has been credited with 155 Defensive Runs Saved by Fielding Bible; no other MLB third baseman has more than 90 DRS over that time.

In 2022 Arenado won his sixth consecutive Platinum Glove, an exclusive honor that’s annually given to the best defensive player – at any position – in each league.

And Arenado was awarded his fifth career Fielding Bible Award, the most by a third baseman and only one shy of Andrelton Simmons and Yadier Molina for the most won overall.

Arenado – 31 this past season — actually is improving defensively with age. He was credited with a rather modest six Defensive Runs Saved in 2021, but after getting more comfortable with his new team, his DRS total spiked to 19 in 2022 – his third-best in a season for his career and his most in a season since 2019.

HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE: With another outstanding year of defense, Arenado has moved up to seventh place, all-time, in defensive WAR among primary MLB third basemen:

Brooks Robinson, 39.1 dWAR
Adrian Beltre, 27.0
Buddy Bell, 23.8
Clete Boyer, 21.7
Graig Nettles, 21.4
Scott Rolen, 21.2
Nolan Arenado, 18.8.

Arenado has played in 1,384 games. With the exception of Clete Boyer (1,725) every third baseman above Arenado on the top-seven list played between 2,038 and 2,933 games than the St. Louis third baseman. Arenado will continue to climb the dWAR standings.

CONCLUSION:  “A” for Arenado. Big surprise, eh?

Thanks for reading …


Bernie invites you to listen to his opinionated sports-talk show on 590-AM The Fan, KFNS. It airs Monday through Thursday from 3-6 p.m. and Friday from 4-6 p.m. You can listen by streaming online or by downloading the show podcast at or the 590 app which is available in your preferred app store.

Follow Bernie on Twitter @miklasz

All stats used here were sourced from FanGraphs, Baseball Reference, Stathead, Bill James Online, Fielding Bible, Baseball Savant, Brooks Baseball Net and Spotrac.


Bernie Miklasz
Bernie Miklasz

For the last 35 years Bernie Miklasz has entertained, enlightened, and connected with generations of St. Louis sports fans.

While best known for his voice as the lead sports columnist at the Post-Dispatch for 26 years, Bernie has also written for The Athletic, Dallas Morning News and Baltimore News American. Bernie has hosted radio shows in St. Louis, Dallas, Baltimore and Washington D.C.

Bernie, his wife Kirsten and their cats reside in the Skinker-DeBaliviere neighborhood of St. Louis.