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Front Page: Quick Hitter: New Rules for 2020

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 12:27 AM
During the 2019 offseason MLB and the MLBPA agreed on various rule changes. Some of these rule changes went into effect in 2019, but ther...
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Front Page: Multiple Teams Are Interested in Kyle Gibson....

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 11:49 PM
There’s no question Kyle Gibson struggled this season. However, those struggles might be attributed to him trying to fight through ulcera...
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Will There Be Another Great Knuckleball Pitcher in the MLB?

Other Baseball Yesterday, 11:37 PM
Just a general question as we pass time in the offseason. I've always been a fan of the pitch, and in this day of high velocity, I would...
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Front Page: Offseason Blueprint: Hooking a Big Fish

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 09:43 PM
There’s no denying that the Minnesota Twins greatest need this offseason is pitching. The front office has stated their focus will be on...
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Front Page: Bumgarner V. Wheeler: Who Should the Twins Pu...

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 09:18 PM
Madison Bumgarner and Zack Wheeler headline the second tier of the starting pitching free agent class, representing realistic Twins targe...
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What Makes Luis Arraez so Good and How Can He Repeat His Excellence in 2020?

At least some regression is expected after the Twins posted a ridiculous .270/.338/.494 (.832) line in 2019. It is likely that the overall offensive production will generally decrease as the baseball should be de-juiced and Nelson Cruz will be a year older. On-base wizard Luis Arraez will hit more than four homers, but do his peripherals show concern for regression in other areas?
Image courtesy of Tim Heitman, USA Today
Luis Arraez was one of many breakouts for the Twins in 2019. Arraez ranked as the No.15 prospect in the Twins system on MLB Pipeline before the season. There was no doubt Arraez could hit, but his questionable athleticism and lack of power hampered his upside as a prospect. These stats say it all about how he fared in his first season in the big leagues:



Arraez was called up in May and became nothing short of a marvel at the plate. His zone contact percentage was a pristine 94%, almost 11% higher than league average. His chase rate was well below average at 24.3%. Arraez made contact on 87.4% of pitches outside the zone, nearly 30% more than the average player. Arraez struck out just 7.9% of the time, ranking in the top 1% in MLB. It looks like the Twins have found an unlikely cornerstone piece. Arraez is a catalyst and a nightmare for an opposing pitcher.

Arraez got ahead in 49% of counts, hitting .398/.497/.586 (1.083) in 163 tries after being up 1-0. When down 0-1, Arraez hit a pedestrian .291/.327/.342 (.669). When ahead in the count, he hit .448/.585/.676 (1.261) compared to .252/.252/.291 (.544) when behind.

When controlling the count, pitchers had the luxury of shying away from the fastball, a pitch that Arraez hit to the tune of .364. Arraez whiffed on just 5.9% of fastballs but 12.5% of off-speed and breaking pitches. On off-speed and breaking pitches, Arraez had expected batting averages of .248 and .256, respectively. On the AL Central clinching night, Luis Arraez defied his Statcast trend on this 1-1 curveball from Drew VerHagen:



Arraez hit .334/.399/.439 (.838) with a .355 BABIP in 92 games. In August, Arraez saw his BABIP lowered to a much more realistic .310. His monthly production responded as he hit .293/.350/.380 (.730) in 103 plate appearances. This is eerily close to the .286/.332/.395 (.727) line that Statcast expected from him this year.

Arraez was coined as “La Regadera” (The Sprinkler) for his ability to spray hits all over the field. Arraez loves to push the ball, owning a 36.7% opposite field rate. Looking at his wOBA chart, he seems to have an eye for outside pitches. Arraez struggled with pitches located on the inner half, but crushed most pitches away:

chart (2)


Pitchers will be adjusting to the surging sophomore in 2020. The strike zone will hopefully be around the same size (robot umps, please!), and Arraez can absolutely continue his production if he maintains elite plate discipline. This is a tall task for a young gun, but Arraez has been seemingly unfazed thus far.

Getting ahead in the count and forcing fastballs is key for most hitters, but Arraez showed that this will be especially important moving forward. What do you think the future holds for Luis Arraez?

Please comment below!

For much more on Luis Arraez and his amazing campaign:

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8 Comments

Should develop into a 10-12 home run guy with experience. Natural feel for the game will help him overcome lack of athleticism. Potential great table setter.
    • DocBauer likes this
2020 will be very interesting as the league will surely make adjustments. I believe Arreaz can as well. My biggest concern is that his defense is sub par which would be easier to take if we had a strong SS

He could be this generations Nellie Fox or Rod Carew.He will study the pitchers just like they will study him.Who wins? It will be fascinating.

    • DocBauer, RichReese and DannySD like this
Not going to have power with that swing. This year, with the juiced baseball, he projected to about 7...by far and away more than he has ever hit in a season. He’s young, but the BABiP comes from his willingness to slap the ball around the field. And if his BABiP settles at .310, he’s not going to have that much value...even if the HR’s ticked up a bit.

In the meantime, I think he’s a legit BA and ball-in-play guy...on a lineup where that fits a need. And I think that’s the important part for now.
    • RichReese likes this

Hitting is great for sure, the Twins need to come out and tell him he will only be used at 2nd base and that he needs to take all winter to work on his defense.

 

The Twins can't have 3 poor defenders in the field right now along with Polanco & Rosario. We also still don't know who will be playing 1st base either.

 

With a poor defense you may be able to win a weak division and then get railed in the playoffs. That's without bringing up the suspect pitching.

Hitting is great for sure, the Twins need to come out and tell him he will only be used at 2nd base and that he needs to take all winter to work on his defense.
 
The Twins can't have 3 poor defenders in the field right now along with Polanco & Rosario. We also still don't know who will be playing 1st base either.
 
With a poor defense you may be able to win a weak division and then get railed in the playoffs. That's without bringing up the suspect pitching.


Personally, I don't think Rosario is bad defensively if his wheels are sound. He will make a bad play here and there, but, he will make 2 or 3 really good plays to counteract the bad one.

I like Polanco at SS and feel be is still growing in to the position. I honestly expect growth from him and Sano just from experience. I've seen it too many times to dismiss the potential of another season before I begin to wonder about change.
The sophomore slump, in all sports, is very real. It's real because video, coaches, more experienced players all make it real due to adjustments. And I am not going to annoit Arraez as the next Gwynn or Carew at this point. That would be ridiculous. But I will say that there are players who simply have a gift, an "it" factor, that transcends. Arraez does not have pure power, or speed, or overt athleticism that entices. But he does have a special ability to see pitches, see the situation, and place a round bat on a round ball and make something happen. On top of that, we all saw examples last season where he showed natural instincts to just play ball and do what was right. The league will adjust. But he shows the natural ability to adjust himself. Comps should just stop. We will see how he develops. But I really am not worried about any sophomore slump, even if there is some regression involved. Hate to use hyperbole, but this kid is a ballplayer!

He will be the Twins 2B and leadoff hitter next year.He projects to be a great table setter for a power packed lineup even if there is some degree of regression.  


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