Minnesota Twins: Luis Arraez has proven that he belongs

Brian Johnston
(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /
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The Minnesota Twins have had a disappointing season overall, but there have been a few bright spots. One has been the play of Jorge Polanco, who is having a banner season. Another has been the hitting of Luis Arraez.

Despite going 0-for-3 in the first game of Tuesday’s doubleheader against the Cleveland Indians, Arraez is batting .291 on the season. While he doesn’t have much power – he’s only hit two home runs – he’s been a sparkplug for the top of the order, though he’s batted all around the lineup and played a few different positions as well.

In an era of three true outcomes – strikeouts, walks, and home runs – Arraez has been a refreshing change of pace, making lots of contact and hitting the ball to all fields. His distribution of batted balls includes 29.1% pulled, 34.4% up the middle, and 36.5% to the opposite field. He’s only struck out 43 times all year and has walked almost as much (40) as he’s struck out.

Minnesota Twins: Luis Arraez has hit everywhere he’s gone.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Arraez is thriving at the big league level. He batted .331 during his minor league career, which started until 2014. He was then called up to the big leagues in 2019 and batted .334 in 92 games, which led to him finishing sixth in American League Rookie of the Year voting. In 32 games last year, he batted .321.

So, how does he profile moving forward? As mentioned before, he’s batted all over the order, though he’s been batting leadoff a lot. And that’s with good reason: He’s batting .345 – with an .808 OPS – leading off games and .338 (.825 OPS) leading off an inning. Thus, it looks like he could have a strong future as a leadoff hitter. He doesn’t steal a lot of bases (only two this year) but that’s become less important in today’s game.

Some will say that the lack of power will limit Arraez’s ceiling, which is a fair point, especially if he were to play third base a lot moving forward. He also has had some injury problems, and the Twins have quite a few young players on the rise in their system, which could eventually cause Arraez to be squeezed out, particularly if he doesn’t hit for more power (which his track record shows that’s not likely).

However, given how well Arraez has hit over the past few seasons, if he continues down this path, the Twins are going to have to find him a spot to play over the long run. Hopefully, he’ll be able to keep it up and make it difficult to keep him out of the lineup.

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