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Front Page: Luis Arraez Entering the AL Rookie of the Year Race

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#1 Cody Christie

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 11:00 PM

Luis Arraez has fought his way into an everyday role on one of the best offenses in baseball history. This is no small feat, especially for a 22-year old rookie. Since he wasn’t a highly-ranked prospect, Arraez has surprised many fans with his professional approach at the plate. Could he surprise the rest of baseball and walk away with the American League Rookie of the Year Award?The Arraez Resume'
Arraez entered play on Tuesday hitting .350/.421/.446 with 12 extra-base hits in just over 200 plate appearances. He has coaxed 22 walks and has struck out only 14 times. Among AL rookies with 200 plate appearances, he has the highest batting average by 50 points and the highest OBP by 40 points. His 6.9 K% is almost half as low as the second-place rookie on the leaderboard.

One of Arraez’s biggest hurdles to winning the award will be his lack of plate appearances. He should finish with close to 370 plate appearances, but some other rookies already have over 300 plate appearances to their credit. Arraez will also be hurt because other rookies will be able to accrue more WAR because of their getting to the big leagues before him.

According to FanGraphs, Arraez currently ranks fourth in WAR among AL rookie batters. Less than a week ago, he ranked sixth on this list. He currently trails Tampa’s Brandon Lowe (2.5 WAR), New York’s Mike Tauchman (2.5 WAR) and Seattle’s Daniel Vogelbach (2.2 WAR). None of these players are exactly household names but the real competition might come from other more well-known players.

The Competition
Toronto’s Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is the big name in the AL ROY competition. So far this season, he has hit .274/.346/.459 with 34 extra-base hits in 367 plate appearances. FanGraphs has his WAR total as 0.5 and his total is low because of his negative value as a baserunner and a defender. He still had a ton of hype coming into the year and he has compiled a solid offensive resume.

Some other former top prospects to consider are Chicago’s Eloy Jimenez and Toronto’s Cavan Biggio. Jimenez’ 19 home runs are second among AL rookies, but his other offensive numbers might make it tough to consider him a front-runner. He is hitting .237/.294/.453 with 27 extra-base hits and he has provided negative value on the defensive side. Biggio’s .205 batting average is tough to swallow, but he is getting on base a third of the time and he has 17 extra-base hits in 63 games.

As far as pitchers, Spencer Turnbull has been worth 2.0 WAR on a bad Tigers team. He has a 3.68 ERA, a 1.32 WHIP, and a 98 to 42 strikeout to walk ratio in 107 2/3 innings. John Means represented the Orioles in the All-Star Game this season and he has a 3.36 ERA with a 1.16 WHIP to go along with an 83 to 28 strikeout to walk ratio. Both players have been decent, but neither will likely have a shot at the award.

The Race
Minnesota hasn’t had a top-three finisher for AL ROY since 2015 when Miguel Sano finished a distant third behind Carlos Correa and Francisco Lindor. During Minnesota’s last run to a division title in 2010, Danny Valencia earned enough votes to finish a distant third in the voting. One must go back all the way to the mid-90s to find Minnesota’s last AL ROY winner when Marty Cordova took home the hardware after beating out Garret Anderson and Andy Pettitte.

Voting for the Rookie of the Year Awards is different than voting for other year-end honors. While most awards go to the player that had the best overall season, this isn’t always the case of the ROY. I’ve heard from voters that they approach voting for this award by looking at the candidates and voting for not only who had a good season, but also who will have a long-term impact on the game.

Over the last seven years, some of the AL winners include Shohei Ohtani, Aaron Judge, Carlos Correa, Jose Abreu, Wil Myers and Mike Trout. All those batters had at least 88 games played at the big-league level with Myers having the fewest. He batted .293/.354/.478 that season and he was one of baseball’s top prospects. He only had to beat out Jose Iglesias and Chris Archer for the top spot.

Does Arraez have a shot at the AL ROY? It seems more likely for Guerrero to finish on top but that still doesn’t take anything away from the impact Arraez has had on the Twins line-up.

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#2 SwainZag

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 11:24 PM

Unless I missed something, you completely forgot Yordan Alvarez for the Astros, the guy is downright raking.

 

I love Arraez, but compare the two.  

 

Arraez: 202 PA, .350/.421/.446

Alvarez: 197 PA, .355/.431/.733!!!

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#3 MNT1996

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Posted 14 August 2019 - 01:02 AM

Probably not going to win it, but could definitely make a run at the top 3.

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#4 Penthang

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Posted 14 August 2019 - 04:46 AM

While it’s probably an uphill battle both the numbers he could put up by seasons end and the exposure he should get from being on a first place team and being seen on a playoff run could help his case. He’s very consistent so I don’t see his line fading, some of his competition may. It will be fun to watch.
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#5 Blackjack

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Posted 14 August 2019 - 04:53 AM

I'm curious where Twins Daily had Arraez ranked in their minor league player rankings before the season started??


#6 mikelink45

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Posted 14 August 2019 - 05:38 AM

I do not think he will win for many reasons - it is a power year, he was an unexpected rookie phenom and has not grabbed the headlines of Guerrero and others, but he is definitely my ROY.I love the balance he has given the lineup, the extremely professional approach to the team, his attitude and his consistency.He has beaten out a good veteran for 2B and I look forward to a long career.  

 

I know he was not rated in our top 20 prospects until this year and I doubt if he made any other lists. 

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#7 rdehring

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Posted 14 August 2019 - 06:11 AM

Yes, Yes, and Yes.  

 

Unfortunately, he will probably end up in the top 3, but not the winner.Biggest thing going against him is that as far as baseball is concerned he came out of nowhere.Also will be hurt a bit by less plate appearances than some of the others.


#8 Dome Dogg

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Posted 14 August 2019 - 06:15 AM

EDIT: First commenter already mentioned this, my bad.

 

Isn't Yordan Alvarez the favorite at this point?

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#9 Dantes929

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Posted 14 August 2019 - 06:19 AM

 

While it’s probably an uphill battle both the numbers he could put up by seasons end and the exposure he should get from being on a first place team and being seen on a playoff run could help his case. He’s very consistent so I don’t see his line fading, some of his competition may. It will be fun to watch.

His last two months his average has been a very very good .321 and .325 with OBP around .400.That is the line I think could be sustainable so I do expect his current line to fade some. 

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#10 AlwaysinModeration

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Posted 14 August 2019 - 07:02 AM

The fact that he is (legitimately) in the conversation for this is kind of the point, and, in and of itself, quite remarkable.

All that, and no one can really pronounce his name, either!
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#11 Shaitan

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Posted 14 August 2019 - 08:11 AM

If the Twins go on another run and take the division easily he's got a chance. He needs media attention to outpace Vlad Jr.

 

Though, compared to MVP and the like, I feel like ROY might be one of the few non-market driven awards.


#12 JLease

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Posted 14 August 2019 - 08:16 AM

I think he finishes around top 5, but probably won't win it. Part of it will be playing time, but also high batting average just isn't considered sexy any longer. bWAR is less appreciative of him than fWAR; he's well behind someone like Vlad Guerrero Jr. by that measure too, not to mention Brandon Lowe who is kind of a double whammy on Arraez, since they both play 2B.

 

That said, he's going to be a deserving candidate and is having a wonderful year. He may get a bit of a boost with the twins being in a pennant battle, especially if he keeps coming through with clutch hitting, which will get him some air time on ESPN for voters who don't see him often.


#13 spycake

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Posted 14 August 2019 - 08:20 AM

 

According to FanGraphs, Arraez currently ranks fourth in WAR among AL rookie batters. Less than a week ago, he ranked sixth on this list. He currently trails Tampa’s Brandon Lowe (2.5 WAR), New York’s Mike Tauchman (2.5 WAR) and Seattle’s Daniel Vogelbach (2.2 WAR). None of these players are exactly household names but the real competition might come from other more well-known players.

As far as I can tell, Fangraphs is incorrect on the rookie status of both Vogelbach and Tauchman -- both appear to have at least 45 days of non-September MLB service entering this season, so you are right to ignore them.

 

Lowe is definitely a candidate, though. I'd venture to say he's very similar to Arraez: wRC+/OPS+, position, name recognition (or lack thereof), on a contending team. Lowe has an advantage in playing time, although he's currently on the IL. If he doesn't return in a timely manner, or his performance suffers after he returns, it could close the gap between them quite a bit.

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#14 spycake

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Posted 14 August 2019 - 08:25 AM

 

Toronto’s Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is the big name in the AL ROY competition. So far this season, he has hit .274/.346/.459 with 34 extra-base hits in 367 plate appearances. FanGraphs has his WAR total as 0.5 and his total is low because of his negative value as a baserunner and a defender. He still had a ton of hype coming into the year and he has compiled a solid offensive resume.

This under-sells Vlad Jr.'s case. He's got 2.0 bWAR to contrast with that lower fWAR. He's also been heating up -- he only has a 115 wRC+ on the season, but that figure is at 151 since the all-star break and 185 in August.

 

He probably can't catch Yordan Alvarez in that department, but he may very well catch up to Arraez's 132 wRC+ by the end of the season.


#15 Darius

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Posted 14 August 2019 - 08:28 AM

If it were me, I’d give to Yordan Alvarez right now.

Lowe has been good as well. Due to volume, I’m sure he’s get the nod over Arraez. I think Arraez has been the more impressive player offensively, but the national perception around Lowe is probably favorable.

Vlad Jr. shouldn’t have a shot, be he does (see doesn’t make sense above).

Conclusion: I think Arraez is currently sitting behind 3 guys. Unless he continues to hit .350, and all others in the list slump big time, I don’t think he has a shot. Alvarez will, and should, run away with it.

Edited by Darius, 14 August 2019 - 08:35 AM.

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#16 Steve Lein

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Posted 14 August 2019 - 08:56 AM

It's gotta be Alvarez from the Astros right now.

 

Guerrero has the name recognition, but as a power hitter, Arraez is beating him in OPS by .050+ points.

 

I'd probably have it as Alvarez, Lowe, Arraez.

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Scouting Report: Power: 30, Hitting: 50, Arm: 60, Defense: 45, Speed: 45. "Line drive swing and shows good contact and on-base abilities. Double's power at his peak. Strong arm from 2B or the OF, stiff hands. Not a fast runner, but above average instincts on the bases. Skinny body doesn't look the part, but will sneak up on you. ACL surgery sapped much of his athleticism." (Probably)


#17 jkcarew

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Posted 14 August 2019 - 09:30 AM

 

I know he was not rated in our top 20 prospects until this year and I doubt if he made any other lists. 

Take heed prospect rankers! Everyone knew Arraez would hit. But his other tools (particularly power and speed) were deemed weak and average. And there always seems to be a bias for ceiling...but doesn't give enough weight to the risk associated with the tool that is the most important tool by a mile. So, the fast and and/or powerful guy that 'might' hit gets ranked ahead of the guy that you know will hit.

 

Having said that...I do the same thing.

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#18 shabbos1

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Posted 14 August 2019 - 09:36 AM

 

I'm curious where Twins Daily had Arraez ranked in their minor league player rankings before the season started??

He didn't even crack the top 20.  Ranking prospects is basically a crapshoot.


#19 70charger

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Posted 14 August 2019 - 09:37 AM

Missed opportunity for an "Arraezumé" pun.

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#20 Rosterman

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Posted 14 August 2019 - 09:41 AM

If he held these stats and played another 30 games, maybe.

 

But he also has ben all over the place in positioning.

 

But you never know.

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