Petzold: Nolan Arenado Or Manny Machado, Who Is Better?
(AP Photos)

When it comes time for the Major League Baseball Fantasy Draft, Nolan Arenado of the Colorado Rockies and Manny Machado of the Baltimore Orioles will be two first round draft picks. Who will be worth drafting first?

The Draft

Arenado was drafted by the Rockies with the 10th pick in the second round of the 2009 MLB Draft, which is the same draft that included middle infielders like Nick Franklin, Chris Owings and Billy Hamilton, just to name a few. As a matter of fact, Grant Green was drafted with the 13th overall pick by the Oakland Athletics and was noted as the best middle infielder in the draft, so Arenado was a steal for the Rockies in the second round. Green, across three major league seasons, has played 109 games, while Arenado has played 401 games during the same span. 

National League All-Star Nolan Arenado #28 of the Colorado Rockies warms up prior to the 86th MLB All-Star Game at the Great American Ball Park on July 14, 2015 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (July 13, 2015 - Source: Elsa/Getty Images North America)

National League All-Star Nolan Arenado #28 of the Colorado Rockies warms up prior to the 86th MLB All-Star Game at the Great American Ball Park on July 14, 2015 in Cincinnati, Ohio.
(July 13, 2015 - Source: Elsa/Getty Images North America)

Out of Brito Miami Private School in Florida, Machado was a different story. The third baseman, who can also play at shortstop, was taken by the Orioles with the third overall pick in the 2010 MLB Draft. Bryce Harper to the Washington Nationals and James Taillon to the Pittsburgh Pirates were the only players drafted ahead of Machado. The Baby Face Assassin, as some call him, has lived up to his draft hype. 

Manny Machado #13 of the Baltimore Orioles poses during photo day at Ed Smith Stadium on February 28, 2016 in Sarasota, Florida. (Feb. 27, 2016 - Source: Rob Carr/Getty Images North America)

 Manny Machado #13 of the Baltimore Orioles poses during photo day at Ed Smith Stadium on February 28, 2016 in Sarasota, Florida.
(Feb. 27, 2016 - Source: Rob Carr/Getty Images North America) 

From Debut To The 2014 Season

In 2012, Machado made his major league debut on August 9, 2012 against the Kansas City Royals and went 2-for-4 at this dish. Arenado, however, made his debut on April 28, 2013 against the Arizona Diamondbacks and went hitless in three attempts at the plate. 

Manny Machado #13 of the Baltimore Orioles makes the throw to first base on the ground ball by Marc Krauss #57 of the Detroit Tigers (not in photo) during the third inning of the game on July 19, 2015 at Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan. (July 18, 2015 - Source: Leon Halip/Getty Images North America)

 Manny Machado #13 of the Baltimore Orioles makes the throw to first base on the ground ball by Marc Krauss #57 of the Detroit Tigers (not in photo) during the third inning of the game on July 19, 2015 at Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan.
(July 18, 2015 - Source: Leon Halip/Getty Images North America) 

From 2012-2014, Machado was injury free until 2013 and 2014, when he suffered a knee injury that needed surgery and kept him out for the final months of the season. In 2014, he dealt with the same injury and was out for the same 4-6 months to end the season. During 289 injury plagued games, Machado hit .278/.313/.434 with 33 home runs and 129 RBI, which is an average of 19 homers and 73 RBI per 162 games. 

Arenado, from 2013-2014, hit .277 with 63 doubles, six triples, 28 home runs and 113 RBI across 224 games played for the Rockies. He has been pretty much injury free expect for the end of the 2014 season, which he missed the very end of the season with pneumonia, as Nick Groke of the Denver Post reported. Besides that small setback, the infielder has been healthy to the max. 

Third baseman Nolan Arenado #28 of the Colorado Rockies fields an infield single by Andrew McCutchen #22 of the Pittsburgh Pirates in the first inning at Coors Field on September 24, 2015 in Denver, Colorado. (Sept. 23, 2015 - Source: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images North America)

 Third baseman Nolan Arenado #28 of the Colorado Rockies fields an infield single by Andrew McCutchen #22 of the Pittsburgh Pirates in the first inning at Coors Field on September 24, 2015 in Denver, Colorado.
(Sept. 23, 2015 - Source: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images North America)

The Rockies and Arenado agreed to a one-year, $5 million deal this winter to avoid arbitration as reported by Jon Heyman of MLB Network

2015 Season

Across the 2015 season, Arenado did something that nobody expected the young player to make happen on the field. The 24-year-old hit .287 and slugged 42 home runs with 130 RBI during the course of 157 games for Colorado. The team as a whole struggled, but Arenado shined. Due to his outstanding numbers, Arenado earned 2015 All-Star honors and won the National League Gold Glove at third base for the third straight year. Along with Gold Glove, he won National League Silver Slugger as a third baseman. 

Nolan Arenado #28 of the Colorado Rockies trots around the bases after hitting a solo home run off of Chris Heston #53 of the San Francisco Giants in the top of the second inning at AT&T Park on October 2, 2015 in San Francisco, California. (Oct. 1, 2015 - Source: Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images North America)

Nolan Arenado #28 of the Colorado Rockies trots around the bases after hitting a solo home run off of Chris Heston #53 of the San Francisco Giants in the top of the second inning at AT&T Park on October 2, 2015 in San Francisco, California.
(Oct. 1, 2015 - Source: Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images North America)

The 2015 season was the first year that Machado was fully healthy, playing in all 162 games for the Orioles. The 23-year-old owned a .286/.359/.502 slash line with 35 home runs and 86 RBI. Machado won the American League Gold Glove at third base for the second time in his career and earned 2015 All-Star honors for the second time in his career. 

American League All-Star Manny Machado #13 of the Baltimore Orioles reacts after the seventh inning against the National League during the 86th MLB All-Star Game at the Great American Ball Park on July 14, 2015 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (July 13, 2015 - Source: Elsa/Getty Images North America)

 American League All-Star Manny Machado #13 of the Baltimore Orioles reacts after the seventh inning against the National League during the 86th MLB All-Star Game at the Great American Ball Park on July 14, 2015 in Cincinnati, Ohio.
(July 13, 2015 - Source: Elsa/Getty Images North America)

WAR

The statistical category of WAR is the latest and greatest way of measuring talent. Arenado registered a 3.7 WAR and averages a 2.8 WAR per year. Meanwhile, Machado logged 7.1 WAR during 2015 and averages a 4.425 WAR per year. While WAR does not mean everything, it plays a large factor. 

The Verdict

While both players are outstanding and each possess great qualities, Arenado is a better player due to his health, power, defensive range and consistency. He is a true five-tool player. If it is not possible to get Arenado, be on the look for Machado.

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