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How Losing Luis Arraez Impacts the Twins ALDS Chances

It was a scary sight in Kansas City on Saturday, when Minnesota Twins rookie sensation Luis Arraez collided with Willians Astudillo on the pitcher’s mound while trying to catch a pop up in the seventh inning of the Twins 4-3 win. Arraez immediately went to the ground in obvious pain. Fortunately for the Twins, the X-ray came back negative, so there are no broken bones, but just what appears to be a severely sprained ankle.

While this means Arraez might be able to recover in time to return later in the postseason, if the Twins were able to make a run, I would find it hard to imagine that he will be back and ready to go for the ALDS that starts less than a week after he suffered the injury. So, until we hear otherwise, it might be best to start operating under the assumption that Arraez won't be available against the Yankees in the ALDS.
Image courtesy of © Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
Perhaps 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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42 Comments

Any word on whether or not the Twins can get Adrianza ready by the start of the playoffs? His return could be big for this team. Would rather see Adrianza than Schoop as the primary starter at 2B in this series, if indeed Arraez is confirmed out.

    • glunn likes this

Is his injury one that they can carry him on the roster for one game and then have him go in game 2 or 3?

 

Any word on whether or not the Twins can get Adrianza ready by the start of the playoffs? His return could be big for this team. Would rather see Adrianza than Schoop as the primary starter at 2B in this series, if indeed Arraez is confirmed out.

I thought his injury had him out for the rest of the season, including post-season. Maybe I read that wrong?

 

Any word on whether or not the Twins can get Adrianza ready by the start of the playoffs? His return could be big for this team. Would rather see Adrianza than Schoop as the primary starter at 2B in this series, if indeed Arraez is confirmed out.

The only word I have heard is the Adrianza is slightly behind Kepler and Marwin.

1st round rosters , are due in by Friday at noon,  

    • nater79a likes this

To their credit, the Twins are in a position to 'have' to play a good-defending veteran with 133 career HR's and a 2019 OPS+ of 103. I'd rather have Arraez. His OBP is a great fit in this lineup. But it could be way worse...and the Yankess will have their issues, as well.

    • birdwatcher, 70charger and woolywoolhouse like this

Um, what part of Arraez's game can Astudillo replicate? 

 

He's slower; his bat less potent; his strike zone judgment is non-existent; and aside from being able to occupy the area surrounding several of the same positions, he is a steep downgrade defensively ... to a guy that isn't exactly a gloveman himself.

 

Tortuga doing anything but assisting TC Bear with the T-shirt cannon in the postseason is a nightmare scenario.

    • Twins33, curt1965 and DannySD like this
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jorgenswest
Sep 29 2019 12:45 PM
Would we roster Arraez if it looks like he is ready for game 3?

I would if I were confident in the health of Gonzalez.

The challenge is having so many other position players with questionable health in Kepler, Gonzalez, Cron and Adrianza.

How many roster spots can be devoted to those question marks?
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Old Twins Cap
Sep 29 2019 12:47 PM

Grade 1 sprain, the least severe.

 

Kid is 22 years old and will heal quickly.

 

He's gonna play on Friday, and we hope it rains and they don't play until Saturday.

    • Han Joelo, nicksaviking, brvama and 2 others like this

Grade 1 sprain, the least severe.

Kid is 22 years old and will heal quickly.

He's gonna play on Friday, and we hope it rains and they don't play until Saturday.

I share your optimism, but maybe not game 1. He’ll absolutely get carried on the DS roster and my guess game 3.
I know it’s cool to be pessimistic and cautious, but my opinion is that Arraez will definitely start Game 1 if he’s able at all. Winning Game 1s in the playoffs is so important (statistically and emotionally); I just can’t imagine that Rocco is going to get cute about a Grade 1 sprain on a 22 year old kid playing an IF position. This isn’t basketball we’re talking about, where you are constantly moving. Shoot it’s not even an OF position where you have to run a bit.

 

Um, what part of Arraez's game can Astudillo replicate? 

 

He's slower; his bat less potent; his strike zone judgment is non-existent; and aside from being able to occupy the area surrounding several of the same positions, he is a steep downgrade defensively ... to a guy that isn't exactly a gloveman himself.

 

Tortuga doing anything but assisting TC Bear with the T-shirt cannon in the postseason is a nightmare scenario.

Clearly someone not a fan of the Turtle. You diminish his ability far too much. Don't know what else to say.

    • Dantes929 and woolywoolhouse like this
If Astudillo plays he will make a positive contribution at the plate and in the field. I'd bet on it.
    • woolywoolhouse, Aerodeliria and In My La-Z-boy like this
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John Bonnes
Sep 30 2019 05:53 AM

Um, what part of Arraez's game can Astudillo replicate? 
 
He's slower; his bat less potent; his strike zone judgment is non-existent; and aside from being able to occupy the area surrounding several of the same positions, he is a steep downgrade defensively ... to a guy that isn't exactly a gloveman himself.
 
Tortuga doing anything but assisting TC Bear with the T-shirt cannon in the postseason is a nightmare scenario.


I think primarily, they both put the ball in play. That certainly has it's uses in certain situations, and now Astudillo can be available off the bench for those situations. Otherwise, I don't know if he would've made the roster. 

 

I think primarily, they both put the ball in play. That certainly has it's uses in certain situations, and now Astudillo can be available off the bench for those situations. Otherwise, I don't know if he would've made the roster. 

 

But more often than not it isn't good contact - soft liners to the infield and popups don't really move runners along. He's got the disregard for strike zone and eye-hand coordination of Kirby Puckett and the power of Jarvis Brown.

This board has kicked Jonathan Schoop around all season for reasons beyond my comprehension. I predict that he will rise to the occasion if given a chance. I know, RLISP is high. Big whoop. Perfectly fine with him in the lineup especially against the Yankees who he played against many times as an Oriole and is not intimidated by pin stripes. Not that the rest of these Twins are either but Schoop is simply used to playing the Yankees. No big deal.

    • woolywoolhouse, gocgo, cmoss84 and 3 others like this

Ouch, our best OBP hitter (.399) might be replaced by our worst OBP hitter (.299).An .838 OPS replaced by our worst OPS hitter (.678).

    • Danchat likes this
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In My La-Z-boy
Sep 30 2019 10:01 AM

 

This board has kicked Jonathan Schoop around all season for reasons beyond my comprehension. I predict that he will rise to the occasion if given a chance. I know, RLISP is high. Big whoop. Perfectly fine with him in the lineup especially against the Yankees who he played against many times as an Oriole and is not intimidated by pin stripes. Not that the rest of these Twins are either but Schoop is simply used to playing the Yankees. No big deal.

Rocco will play him against NY lefty's for sure. I agree with your assessment here. I like Schoop against the Yanks in the playoffs. 

    • birdwatcher and howieramone2 like this

If they roster him for the ALDS, whether he starts game one may depend on who the Yankees starting pitcher is. If its Tanaka for game one and Arraez is available, I'd say Arraez will start. If its Paxton/Happ, wouldn't be surprised to see Arraez sit and be available off the bench.

 

Arraez slashes .355/.399/.488 vs righties as opposed to .274/.398/.298 vs lefties.

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bustedstuff88
Sep 30 2019 10:55 AM

Seems like a premature article....If I had to bet, Id wager Arraez is in the starting lineup come Friday. 

    • bighat and BBAM like this
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Twins_Fan_For_Life
Sep 30 2019 12:04 PM
Austudillo = -0.2 bWAR.
The embodiment of a replacement player?

 

Ouch, our best OBP hitter (.399) might be replaced by our worst OBP hitter (.299).An .838 OPS replaced by our worst OPS hitter (.678).

Just wait. Ever heard of Bucky Dent? Anyway, can't wait for it to start no matter who starts. If anything defines the Twins this year other than "Great season", its that there is no set lineup. No matter what happens, as the line from one of the Rocky movies went, "No pain, no pain".

Go Twins.

    • Dantes929 likes this
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longstrangetrip
Sep 30 2019 01:31 PM

 

Ouch, our best OBP hitter (.399) might be replaced by our worst OBP hitter (.299).An .838 OPS replaced by our worst OPS hitter (.678).

True, but with the Yankees likely to start a lefty (Paxton) in Game 1 and another one (Happ) in Game 4, we need to focus on Arraez and Schoop's OPS against LHP....917 for Schoop and only .696 for Arraez.Even though Schoop hasn't had success against Paxton, I have to believe Rocco needs to go with him in Game 1.

 

I'd hate to see Luis miss the series, but Schoop will be a very good replacement against lefties. 

    • birdwatcher and Dantes929 like this

I agree that Schoop Doggy Dog will play well in the playoffs.Schoop's arm when turning the DP is stronger than anyone else's as well.Here's the part about having so many questionable guys on the roster...it also affects the bullpen and I think Rocco would like to go with a bigger bullpen.However, if he does that, he cuts down on his options in the field and if those unhealed injuries come back to bite them, they need people off the bench....enter La Tortuga.The most versatile guy on the team.Putting him on the roster gives Rocco a little more bullpen flexibility.

    • tarheeltwinsfan and DannySD like this

 

True, but with the Yankees likely to start a lefty (Paxton) in Game 1 and another one (Happ) in Game 4, we need to focus on Arraez and Schoop's OPS against LHP....917 for Schoop and only .696 for Arraez.Even though Schoop hasn't had success against Paxton, I have to believe Rocco needs to go with him in Game 1.

 

I'd hate to see Luis miss the series, but Schoop will be a very good replacement against lefties. 

Right now it is projected as Paxton (L), Severino ®, Tanaka ®.The Yankees say that Paxton might be their only "traditional starter" in the playoffs but we will see what exactly that means.Their bullpen will probably get a ton of innings this series. 

 

Happ has been told that he is pitching in relief for the playoffs, there is speculation that Happ could be used after an opener for game 4 but we will have to wait and see if that is the case.


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