The Rockies reside in the Mountain Time Zone, which means they benefit from neither East Coast or West Coast bias. They play their home games 5,280 feet above sea level, so their offensive numbers are always taken with a serious grain of salt. And they haven't reached the postseason since 2009, which means the casual baseball fan is largely unfamiliar with their roster.
For all of these reasons, the collective consumption of the greatness of Nolan Arenado is probably not what it ought to be. There is a distinct disconnect here between the accomplishments he notches and the acclaim he receives.
So let this serve as a noble attempt to diminish that disconnect and get you to do the right thing with your 2016 Esurance All-Star Game Ballot.
By any objective measure -- and of course barring some amazing in-season surge elsewhere -- Arenado should be the starting National League third baseman.
And at the moment, it's not particularly close.
Arenado entered Tuesday with the best OPS (.979) among qualified NL third basemen -- by 85 percentage points. His 14 homers were second in the Majors only to the 15 hit by Yoenis Cespedes. His 34 RBIs were tied for fifth in baseball and ranked first among NL third basemen. And among Major Leaguers qualified at the hot corner, only Manny Machado (2.7) had a higher Baseball Reference-calculated WAR mark than Arenado's (2.4). The next-highest WAR for an NL third baseman was Matt Carpenter's 1.7 tally.
The problem with a column such as this one is that it can feel like a zero-sum situation. If I praise Arenado as an obvious choice for the Midsummer Classic, some will take it as a knock on Carp, who is a pivotal igniter atop what has been one of the more dynamic offenses in the NL, or on Kris Bryant, who earned All-Star honors in his rookie season and figures to win many more.
Those guys are terrific, and we should take an added moment here to applaud the ascent of a healthy Jake Lamb in Arizona and the amazing consistency a 32-year-old Martin Prado has given the Marlins in the early going. All of them have helped make the hot corner one of MLB's chief sources of offense in this '16 season, with run-production rates as good as or better than they have been in decades.
But Arenado, like Machado in the AL, stands out from the pack. This is a high-energy, high-octane guy whose value on both sides of the ball is not some 2016 revelation but a continuation of the 42-homer masterpiece he put together in '15.
In fact, if you go back to the beginning of '15, Arenado's .916 OPS is second only to that of reigning American League Most Valuable Player Josh Donaldson (.923).
If you're worried this is all some Coors Field concoction, well, don't be. Arenado has a .287/.368/.553 slash line on the road this season, and his homers are an even split between home and road. Last year, he hit 22 of his 42 homers away from Coors.
Maybe you just haven't seen many Rockies games lately, because of the issues cited above. Well, we're here to help. From earlier this month, watch Arenado make this leaping grab of a chopper and a seemingly effortless throw across the diamond while falling away.
As the announcer says, "Who does that?" Arenado does. He does stuff like this all the time. Just last week, he made this sweet diving stop to his left and throw from his knees to start a double play.
There's a reason people casually throw out Brooks Robinson comps when discussing Arenado's defense, and he couples that glovework with some of the best power numbers in the sport.
This is one of the best players in the game, at any position. And with all due respect to the others at third base in the NL, Arenado's a no-brainer on the ballot.
Fans can cast their votes for starters at MLB.com and all 30 club sites -- on their computers, tablets and smartphones -- exclusively online using the 2016 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot until Thursday, June 30, at 11:59 p.m. ET. Vote up to five times in any 24-hour period for a maximum of 35 times.
Fans may also receive the ballot by texting VOTE to 89269 (USA) or 101010 (Canada). Or text VOTA for a ballot in Spanish. Message and data rates may apply, with a maximum of up to five messages and no purchase required. Reply STOP to cancel. Reply HELP for info.
Following the announcement of the 2016 All-Stars, be sure to return to MLB.com and cast your 2016 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Final Vote for the final player on each league's All-Star roster. On Tuesday, July 12, watch the 2016 All-Star Game presented by MasterCard live on FOX, and during the game visit MLB.com to submit your choice for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet via the 2016 MLB All-Star Game MVP Vote.
The 87th All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 160 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB.com, MLB Network and SiriusXM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.