SAN FRANCISCO -- Rockies manager Walt Weiss minced no words when informed Saturday that some respected national baseball reporters ranked third baseman Nolan Arenado as low as 10th, or not even in the top 10, in the National League Most Valuable Player race.
The Baseball Writers' Association of America votes on the award. Each writer with an MVP ballot ranks 10 players.
Arenado entered Saturday leading the NL in home runs by one over the expected MVP, the Nationals' Bryce Harper. Arenado also led the league in RBIs (130, 23 more than anyone else), total bases (351, 19 more than Harper) and extra-base hits (88, a record for third basemen) and was tied for second in doubles (42).
Weiss emphasized he has no quarrel with Harper, the leader in batting (.331), slugging (.646 to Arenado's .576) and runs (117), and tied for the lead in on-base percentage (.461). Weiss said he gives his nod to Arenado because he is expected to earn his third straight Rawlings Gold Glove Award in as many seasons in the Majors. Harper plays primarily in right field.
Weiss is angered by the bias against Rockies hitters because they play in such a hitter's park. However, Arenado entered Saturday leading the NL in road home runs (22, two more than the D-backs' Paul Goldschmidt and the Cubs' Anthony Rizzo, four more than Harper), and tied for second to Rizzo with 56 road RBIs. Yet, Arenado is often listed behind not only Harper but Goldschmidt, Rizzo and others. The Reds' Joey Votto, the co-leader in OBP, also is consistently ranked ahead of Arenado.
"It's mostly because of where we play," Weiss said. "We're a team in our own time zone, and the stigma of our park. We've seen it for years. People have just assumed that Nolan is a product of Coors Field without even looking at the numbers.
"We probably are not seen much on a national level, so I don't think they get to see Nolan a whole lot. But I think if you have a vote, you're obligated to be well-educated, well-informed before you turn in that vote. If you're a writer that has Nolan 10th, I don't think you deserve to be voting."
Arenado's .323 on-base percentage, well below Harper's, appears a big issue in the comparison. However, Weiss noted the difference in the lineups.
In six head-to-head games, the Rockies walked Harper eight times in 29 plate appearances and challenged the surrounding hitters. Because Arenado bats before or after Carlos Gonzalez, who has 40 homers, teams can't choose to avoid Arenado.
In those same six games alone, Arenado struck out eight times and didn't walk, but he hit .375 with a home run and three doubles. They needed to face Arenado because Gonzalez homered four times and drove in eight runs.
"I'm a big Bryce Harper fan," Weiss said. "I love the way he plays. If he's the MVP, you can't argue with that. I just wish that people would give Nolan's defense the credit it deserves, and the [offensive] numbers are just too big to ignore."