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Spring Training Game Thread: Twins @ Rays 2/26/202020ad

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 05:49 PM
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Severino shut down with forearm soreness

Other Baseball Today, 05:06 PM
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Astros Consequences Thread

Other Baseball Today, 04:29 PM
It’s time to transition away from the reports of everything they did. We all had a feeling that players were going to take matters into...
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2019/2020 Twins Minor League Signings

Twins Minor League Talk Today, 05:31 PM
This is a forum to update Twins minor league signings (and can be where we post Twins minor league free agents that signed elsewhere)....
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What Makes a Shortstop a Great Defender?

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 02:56 PM
When Statcast came out with infield defensive ratingsat the end of 2019, Jorge Polanco appeared at the bottom of the SS list. Using actua...
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Recent Blogs


Betting on a Batting Title for the Twins in 2020?

Jonathan Schoop was signed to play second base for the Minnesota Twins in 2019. I initially was concerned about his lack of on-base skills. He was all but replaced by July, and Luis Arraez emerged as a fan favorite. Now everyone’s favorite pick to win a batting title, can it happen in 2020?
Image courtesy of © Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
Last season Arraez played in 92 games posting a .334 average. While OPS will always reign supreme, it’s the batting average and on-base prowess that draws interest for light-hitting types. Known for his ability to command and control the strike zone, the Venezuelan posted a .399 OBP drawing 36 walks while striking out just 29 times. He hasn’t had larger deficiency between strikeouts to walks than three since 2018 with Fort Myers, and he’s walked more times than whiffing in five of his eight affiliated stops.

A career .331 hitter in the minors, his .334 average at the big-league level should hardly be a surprise. Sure, against the best in the game there’s expectation of some regression, but his approach is one that should translate to almost all situations. Power isn’t his thing, and the four homers he hit for the Twins nearly trumped the six he’d launched in 459 professional games previously. Being able to place the baseball and go with pitches he’ll run into some doubles, but he’s more than content utilizing what is offered.

From an upward trajectory standpoint, Arraez won’t often find substantial benefit in splits between average and BABIP. Given the process, results often will be earned and seldom stolen. He’s not driving the ball high into the air, but does a good job elevating enough off the ground. A 20-point difference between the two was present last year, and that’s the exact same amount Steamer projections see for 2020. It’s consistent with career norms and means we should have a relatively well-assumed set of expectations.

The recipe for success with Arraez is a formula that won’t need tweaking. He hit the ball with what’s designated as medium exit velocities just over 50% of the time and had his soft contact percentage in the doldrums at 12.3% (top 15 in baseball). He utilizes all fields to nearly an exact one-third split, and then we get to his discipline. A 2.8% whiff rate was the lowest in baseball and only 28 qualified hitters expanded the plate more than Arraez’s 26.9% chase rate.

From a summarization standpoint, that leaves us in a very good place. Luis Arraez is a contact hitter that is choosy with what he attacks. He executes within himself, has an incredible eye, and has an established track record of not deviating from these norms. The inputs are there to produce a result no Twins player has had since Joe Mauer in 2009.

Now, with an award handed to one of hundreds, there’s also going to be a certain component of luck. Take the White Sox' Tim Anderson for example. He captured the American League batting title in 2019 with a .335 average. He entered the year as a career .258 hitter and enjoyed a Danny Santana-esque .399 BABIP. No AL champ has worn the crown with an average south of .330 since Joe Mauer captured his second in 2008 with a .328 mark. Conversely, Christian Yelich has picked up the nod in the National League each of the last two years being at .329 and .326 respectively.

It’s hard to prognosticate what bar will need to be cleared in order to win the American League crown in 2020. It’s not outlandish to suggest the number will be at least north of .325. Projection systems have Arraez between .309 and .311 in year two, which could prove correct as opposing pitchers adjust to his abilities. I’m not going to be against a guy that’s cracked the .340 mark in multiple stops however, and certainly not one that debuted as well as he did.

Minnesota’s second basemen may not be the favorite, and ultimately 2020 might not wind up being the year, but immediately or in the not-so-distant-future I’d be more than comfortable suggesting it’s a matter of when and not if.

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  • Mike Frasier Law, Dman, ToddlerHarmon and 1 other like this

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8 Comments

This from a guy who, if memory serves, was somewhere between #15-20 among Twins' prospect rankings a year ago.

    • Mike Frasier Law and rdehring like this

Was Luis Arraez the Rodney Dangerfield of the Twins organization?

    • REPETE likes this

I think left fielders are going to creep in taking that slap soft single away and pitchers are going to adjust to him.On the other hand I think umpires give him a little more respect of his strike zone knowledge and the OPS is good/great and he racks up a few more doubles but the batting average isn't as high.

 

With him full time at 2B I am more interested in how his defense looks every day there.

    • joemama, jud6312 and Doctor Gast like this

 

Was Luis Arraez the Rodney Dangerfield of the Twins organization?

Oh I think he's definitely gonna get the respect now

Show me his leather. We know he can hit.
    • jud6312 likes this

Let's pump the brakes a bit and let the guy get more than 100 games under his belt before predicting a batting title.

Terry Francona seems to think he could win a batting title someday.I'll say he wins two in his career.His defense, speed and power might be average at best, but his bat-to-ball skills and plate discipline are top shelf.

Photo
AlwaysinModeration
Feb 16 2020 06:16 AM
I think the real question is whether he hits 400 this year or next.
    • REPETE likes this

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