The Minnesota Twins are on fire to start the season sitting at 34-16 with an 8-game lead on the second place Cleveland Indians.
Not many in the baseball world, including fans of the Minnesota Twins, will admit they saw this one coming. It can hardly be surprising though, considering the added veteran presence and extremely solid young core (when healthy).
The talent and depth throughout the entire Twins organization, including the minors, has never been in doubt. That said, throughout the season we’ll look at one or two different minor league players each week and see where they’re at.
Luis Arraez – Luis is rated as the number 17 overall prospect in the Minnesota Twins system according to MLB.com. At 22 years old, he has plenty of time to make an impact in Minnesota in the years to come.
However, thanks to a couple different injuries and Marwin Gonzalez’ ability to play anywhere on the field, Arraez is already getting his first taste of the majors. Checking in at 5’10” and just under 180 pounds, it’s fair to question the young man’s ability to ever become a power hitter. What’s not fair, is to question whether he can hit the ball.
So far this season, Arraez is slashing .344/.413/.394 over 41 games in the minors and has performed extremely well since being called up. In 6 games with the Twins and 15 at-bats, Arraez has 7 hits including a double and home run.
Lifetime in the minors, he’s a plus .300 hitter with a nice on base percentage and relatively low strikeout rate. He can bounce around between 2nd, 3rd, and shortstop giving him plenty of added value to a Twins infield that doesn’t have a lot of depth. Though his fielding isn’t necessarily flashy, he gets the job done and has already provided a couple web-gems for fans to check-out early in his big-league career.
One thing to keep an eye on is what this means for AAA infielder Nick Gordon. Long thought to be the next important piece of the puzzle for the Twins, Gordon has had his fair share of rough patches. Following a promotion last year to the Rochester Red Wings, Gordon struggled at the plate with a .212 batting average through 99 games.
This year, the young shortstop is off to a much better start with a .320 average albeit in only 11 games. Arraez could complicate the path for this highly rated Twins prospect.
Expect Luis to continue hitting and spraying line-drives all over the field regardless of where he ends the season. Though the up and coming infielder may be sent back to Rochester when Mitch Garver and Nelson Cruz return from injury, he sure is giving the Twins something to think about. As a young middle infielder vying for a spot on one of the best teams in baseball, that’s all you can ask for.