Minnesota Twins: Luis Arraez’s case to be an AL All-Star Starter

Luis Arraez of the Minnesota Twins swings at a pitch in the second inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Target Field. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)
Luis Arraez of the Minnesota Twins swings at a pitch in the second inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Target Field. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) /

Luis Arraez made the All-Star game, and that may have felt like validation for the American League’s leading hitter. Arraez is having by all accounts a career year and is one of the primary reasons for this AL Central-leading campaign for the Minnesota Twins.

However, if you look closely, that all-star nomination may look more like a consolation prize rather than the true recognition of Arraez’s outstanding first half. The Twins’ multipositional star is playing like an All-Star starter and had he been a bigger name brand, he probably gets that recognition.

This will be the first trip to the Mid-Summer Classic for Arraez, and in his fourth year in the majors, he’s probably thrilled with the honor, but he deserved more.

Minnesota Twins first baseman Luis Arraez has a strong case that he should have been an All-Star starter.

Arraez has moved around in his career, he played more than 20 games at second-base, third-base, and left field in 2021, but this season, the twenty-five-year-old from Venezuela has played primarily first and second base, the former for the first time in his career. Arraez has 35 games at first, and 27 at second, accounting for 62 of his 69 games.

Let’s analyze the competition at those two spots, and whether or not, Arraez could’ve gotten the nod as an All-Star starter for the American League.First and second base will be occupied by a former MVP, and last year’s runner-up to the alien efforts of one Shohei Ohtani.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and José Altive will start the game for the American League, and that’s far from outrageous. They’re both having terrific seasons.

Altuve’s .528 SLG is reminiscent of the .541 mark he had in his MVP campaign, and his .371 OBP is helped by a career-high 11.5 BB%. Altuve is aging like fine wine, and evolving his game, maintaining all-star quality numbers.

Vladdy jr. isn’t quite putting up the jaw-dropping numbers of 2021, but with Olson leaving for the Braves, the field looks much stronger for the first-base position over in the National League. Especially with Freeman’s recent hot run, Alonso’s fine year, and Goldschmidt’s MVP campaign.

Last year’s MVP runner-up is slashing .266/.344/.488, good from 132 OPS+. Again, far from the 2021 numbers, but more than good enough for an All-Star selection. Luis Arraez blows both of them out of the water in AVG and OBP.

His respective .346 and .420 marks in those two categories lead the American League and occupy a whole different stratosphere than Guerrero Jr.’s .266 and .344 respective numbers. Arraez’s slugging percentage is behind Vladdy’s. .449 to .488, but the Minnesota Twins All-Star has been the better overall hitter with a 154 OPS+ in comparison with Vladdy’s 133 number.

Altuve has the same OPS+ as Arraez (154), but in terms of bWAR, Arraez is also number one with 3.1, ahead of José Altuve’s 3.0, and Vladdy Guerrero Jr.’s 2.3. It’s understandable given the context of voting that Arraez wasn’t named the starter, but looking strictly at the 2022 numbers, his name certainly belonged in the conversation with those other two established stars.

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