Is Luis Arraez Really Just Ben Revere?
Image courtesy of © Tim Heitman-USA TODAY SportsTwins Daily’s Nick Nelson recently workshopped a couple of ideas on Twitter regarding the Minnesota second basemen. Chief among them was that his hard-hit rate was in the 4th percentile, he posted a 19th percentile exit velo, and he didn’t cover the inside part of the plate. Coupled with defensive questions, and those exist to the tune of a -8 DRS at second, you’ve got a light-hitting combination of mediocrity.
An immediate response would be to look at the track record of Arraez in the minors. He posted a career .799 OPS formed almost entirely by average and on-base skills. That same line of thinking could be applied to Ben Revere, who posted a .777 OPS across nearly 2,000 minor league plate appearances. The parallels are more than evident from a production standpoint, but their athletic profiles begged us to dig a bit deeper.
Before we get to the good stuff it’s worth noting that results had similar parallels at the big-league level as well. Although we’re working with just 366 MLB plate appearances for Arraez, he posted a 7.9% strikeout rate, 2.8% whiff rate, and 26.9% chase rate last year. Revere was at 9.2%, 3.4%, and 26.8% over the course of his career. Again, nearly identical. Looking for a differentiator, it’s time to turn results on their head and look at process (which also would incorporate athletic style).
In his final two seasons Revere averaged just north of 27 feet per second on the basepaths. Arraez held his own at 26.9 ft/sec last year but has never been considered the burner Ben was early on in his career. Couple the thought process with approach and this is where the paths change. Revere posted just a 17.9% hard hit rate over his career while generating line drives only one-fifth of the time and hitting ground balls a whopping 61.3% of the time. Conversely, Arraez owned a 34.7% hard hit rate, 29.4% line drive rate, and only a 41.5% ground ball rate in 2019.
In short, Luis understands that the path to success is solid contact on an upward trajectory.
Although Arraez hasn’t yet developed into much more than a contact hitter, Matthew Taylor recently outlined why that isn’t a narrative to be shocked by should it come to fruition. Despite his lighter hitting profile, Arraez generated a .336 xwOBA in 2019 while Revere’s best season (2015) produced a .305 mark. Further exemplifying his desire to lift baseballs, Arraez owned an 11.4-degree launch angle last season, while Revere never was above 4.4-degree dating back to Statcast’s inception in 2015.
There won’t be any point in Arraez’s career that he becomes the second base version of Miguel Sano. He’s also not the swinging bunt player that the Twins traded to acquire Trevor May. Ben Revere and Luis Arraez posted nearly identical slash lines during their time on the farm, but the how they got there couldn’t be more different.
Obviously the 100th percentile of Arraez is in reaching the heights of those to whom he’s been compared. What he’s done from a statistical measure is much more than the comparison to Revere however, and that floor (Revere) is one he should remain well clear of, barring significant change. Ben Revere was a tough guy to get it past, but Arraez is a disciplined bat with a workable plan that can be implemented and projected for consistent success many years into the future.
MORE FROM TWINS DAILY
— Latest Twins coverage from our writers
— Recent Twins discussion in our forums
— Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
- Mike Frasier Law, tarheeltwinsfan, nclahammer and 3 others like this