Excellent Plate Discipline Emphasizes Why Luis Arraez Deserves Starting Spot on 2020 Twins
Image courtesy of © David Berding-USA TODAY SportsArraez showed his discipline at the plate throughout the season, but my favorite example came in a home game against the New York Mets. Some of you might already know which at-bat I am talking about. Arraez inherited an 0-2 count as he entered the game in the ninth inning to replace Jonathan Schoop, who pulled a muscle in his abdomen.
Coming cold into a game down one run in the ninth inning isn’t any player's forte, especially being down 0-2. But, Arraez drew an eight-pitch walk like it was normal to him. He fouled off four pitches — three fastballs that were all north of 98.5 MPH and a slider — before the crowd erupted after his battle.
That wasn't the only time Arraez impressed with his plate discipline. According to Baseball Savant, out of the 1,471 pitches that Arraez saw, he either fouled off or swung and missed at just 12.4% of pitches out of the zone.
There were only four Twins players that had a lower percentage. Mitch Garver and Jason Castro were two of them with a 9% and 11.5% in the 1,502 and 1,146 pitches they saw. The other two players were Ryan LaMarre (10.4%) LaMonte Wade Jr. (5.9%) but they combined for a total of just 371 pitches.
This stat referenced above includes swings at balls outside of the zone when there are two strikes, so it could be a little misleading, as Arraez could be expanding his zone to protect. With less than two strikes, his percent drops down to 5.3.
In addition to his excellent plate discipline, Arraez also keeps teams from shifting against him. He has the ability to hit to any part of the field, with 26 of his hits going to the pull side, 45 up the middle and 38 to the opposite field.
In the box, Arraez also showcases a new approach during the pitch. Instead of waiting back in the box for the ball, at times he would actually scoot up in the box as the pitch was coming.
Here is a video of him using this approach in the minors:
Twins fans got to see a lot of what Arraez has to offer this year, and it is just the start of his exciting career. Though he doesn’t bring much power to the Bomba Squad, he is a very reliable hitter.
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