How Losing Luis Arraez Impacts the Twins ALDS Chances
Image courtesy of © Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY SportsPerhaps the most obvious impact of losing Luis Arraez is losing his quality bat from the Twins' lineup. Among the 10 Twins hitters with at least 300 plate appearances in 2019, Arraez’s .334 batting average and .399 on-base percentage lead the team. In fact, among all MLB hitters with at least 300 plate appearances this season, Arraez ranks third and ninth in those two categories respectively. On a team filled with home run hitting power left and right, it is imperative to also have a few guys in the lineup who excel at getting on base to help turn many of those home runs into two- and three-run shot.
Part of what makes Arraez so successful is his approach at the plate. He treats every single pitch he sees like it might be his last and is fearless when facing some of the best pitchers in the game.
Another impact of losing Luis Arraez, is going without his versatility defensively. While Arraez isn’t an elite defender, he has surprisingly held his own throughout the diamond. The Twins haven’t had an issue with versatility most of the season, thanks to having two utility players in Marwin Gonzalez and Ehrie Adrianza.
However, with both of them fighting through injuries as well, that leaves the Twins versatility limited and very much in doubt. Fortunately for the Twins, it does sound like Gonzalez should be ready to go for the ALDS, but if something were to flare back up, which seems all the more likely at this point, that could really impact what matchups Rocco Baldelli can play around with through the series.
So, how will the Twins go about replacing Luis Arraez? The first thing to figure out is who will take his spot on the roster. Personally, my money would be on Willians Astudillo, as he can also provide some defensive versatility himself. While Astudillo is a downgrade from Arraez, he can help replicate to at least some extent what Arraez brings to the Twins.
In addition to that, this makes Jonathan Schoop’s role in the series that much more important, as he will now need to step up as the Twins starting second baseman in likely every game this series. This might not be all that detrimental, as three of the Yankees five starting pitchers are left-handed, and Schoop has a much better OPS versus lefties (.917) than he does against righties (.736) this season. However, with the return of Luis Severino to the Yankees rotation, Luis Arraez would have been the perfect hitter to set up the top of the order with, if that is the route Rocco Baldelli would have chosen.
Overall, the loss of any one give player for a postseason series is often over emphasized, as these series are such a small number of games, at least in baseball terms. However, when you factor in the lose of Luis Arraez with the losses of Byron Buxton, Michael Pineda, Sam Dyson, Ehrie Adrianza and with other players, like Max Kepler, Marwin Gonzalez and C.J. Cron, dealing with nagging injuries, it starts to add up. Hopefully, Arraez can make a speedy recovery, and the Twins can get past the dreaded Yankees, so Arraez can make a return to the Twins roster for the later part of a postseason run.
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