Front Page: Twins Daily 2019 Awards: Rookie of the Yearluis arraez
Posted 14 October 2019 - 08:15 PM
Players like Luis Arraez are the lifeblood of this model. And if he follows in the footsteps of past TD Rookie of the Year winners, Arraez is destined to play a major role in the Twins' story for years to come.Since our site started handing out awards five years ago, the picks for top rookie have been Miguel Sano (2015), Max Kepler (2016), Trevor Hildenberger (2017), and Mitch Garver (2018). While Hildenberger has faded, the other three were key contributors to a 101-win team this year, with each ranking among Minnesota's top five position players in WAR. Arraez was just behind that pack, at No. 7.
Sano, Kepler, and Garver are now foundational building blocks for the Twins going forward, and now the latest TD Rookie of the Year is poised to join this esteemed core.
PROVING IT ON THE FIELD
In some ways, Arraez is similar to our pick from a year ago. Not in terms of being a late bloomer – Garver was 27 by the time he broke through as a full-time big-leaguer, while Arraez is now firmly entrenched as a 22-year-old – but in terms of being slept on.
Both players were somewhat overlooked on the prospect scene, due to ostensible limitations that capped their ceilings. For Garver, it was defensive shortcomings behind the plate, and middling potential with the bat. He dented this narrative as a rookie, and fully obliterated it as a sophomore. For Arraez, it's always been a lack of power and prototypical physical tools overshadowing his undeniably impressive production at every level.
Following a spectacular debut in the big leagues, there's no more doubting the viability of Arraez's game.
A DISCIPLINED HITTING MACHINE
He's always been tough to peg. In our preseason prospect rankings, Arraez didn't make the Top 20 cut, falling into the Honorable Mentions; as Seth put it: "Luis Arraez gets his own category. While he isn’t a great athlete, doesn’t have great speed or power and profiles as maybe a second baseman, Arraez can flat-out hit. He has hit at every level."
We weren't alone in our uncertainty on Arraez. He never appeared in a prominent national ranking, even after batting well above .300 at almost every stop in the minors. While Arraez's bat-to-ball skills and advanced discipline were always plain to see, the diminutive 5-foot-7 infielder packed little punch with the bat. Typically what you see with such players is pitchers at the highest levels attacking them and accentuating their weaknesses.
Nevertheless, the intrigue was clear, and it prompted Minnesota to add him to the 40-man roster last winter rather than expose him to the Rule 5 draft. And from the moment Arraez arrived in Minnesota in mid-May, after batting .344 through 41 games at Double-A and Triple-A, it was clear he's no novelty act.
Bringing keen discipline to an aggressive slugging lineup full of established big-leaguers, the rookie second baseman quickly carved out his niche, immediately dazzling with his tremendous strike zone control and ability to spray line drives everywhere. He batted .375 with five walks and one strikeout through 10 games, went back to Rochester at the start of June in a roster crunch, and then was back for good two weeks later. Arraez returned with an eight-game hitting streak out of the gates, including a four-knock effort in Kansas City, and that was that. He was an everyday player the rest of the way, supplanting Jonathan Schoop at second base in a season where Schoop hit 23 homers.
Among players with 300+ plate appearances, Arraez finished first on the Twins in batting average (.344) and on-base percentage (.399). In fact, he ranked third and ninth among all MLB players with 300+ PA in those categories, respectively. As a 22-year-old.
Among Twins hitters, Arraez swung at the third-fewest pitches outside the zone, but made the highest percentage of contact on non-strikes. In the rare instances where he chased, he got the bat on it. His astonishing 2.8% whiff rate was the lowest on the team (beating even La Tortuga), and in all the majors.
Betraying the notions of pitcher adjustments and regression to the mean, Arraez just kept on raking. He batted .438 in June, .321 in July, .293 in August, and .340 in September. He kept chugging all the way up until suffering a scary ankle injury in the season's second-to-last game, when he went down in a heap after colliding with Astudillo on an infield fly ball.
Seeing Arraez carted off the field, tears in his eyes, was uniquely traumatizing to watch because he had ingratiated himself to the fan base so deeply with his infectious energy, amusing quirks, and consistently outstanding play.
At that moment, there seemed to be almost zero chance he would be able to aid the club's postseason run, but in borderline miraculous fashion, Arraez got right enough in one week to start all three ALDS games. Granted, like many of his teammates, the second baseman appeared hobbled and at far less than 100%, but simply making it back onto the field is one of those things that strengthens the budding bonds of comradery.
Rocco Baldelli mostly stuck with this plan of leading off Kepler and Garver this year, but Arraez sure has the look of a No. 1 hitter in the lineup. It seems likely he'll be there and starting at second base on Opening Day next year.
It's also conceivable he could shift to third base, where he made 15 starts as a rookie, with Sano sliding across the diamond – if not next year then at some point. But one thing is for sure: Arraez is locked in.
As you can see by checking out the individual ballots below, Arraez was a unanimous No. 1 selection. Zack Littell was the clear-cut second choice with his 2.68 ERA in 29 appearances, including 0.88 in his last 27. Ryne Harper's inspiring first-half placed him third. Other deserving recipients of votes included Devin Smeltzer, Cody Stashak and Randy Dobnak, who all had encouraging showings on the pitching staff but didn't amass large enough samples.
Here’s a look at the ballots from our 18 voters.
Seth Stohs: 1) Luis Arraez, 2) Zack Littell, 3) Randy Dobnak
Nick Nelson: 1) Luis Arraez, 2) Zack Littell, 3) Devin Smeltzer
John Bonnes: 1) Luis Arraez, 2) Zack Littell, 3) Devin Smeltzer
Tom Froemming: 1) Luis Arraez, 2) Ryne Harper, 3) Zack Littell
Cody Christie: 1) Luis Arraez, 2) Ryne Harper, 3) Zack Littell
Ted Schwerzler: 1) Luis Arraez, 2) Devin Smeltzer, 3) Randy Dobnak
Steve Lein: 1) Luis Arraez, 2) Devin Smeltzer, 3) Randy Dobnak
S.D. Buhr: 1) Luis Arraez, 2) Zack Littell, 3) Randy Dobnak
Matt Braun: 1) Luis Arraez, 2) Cody Stashak, 3) Zack Littell
Cooper Carlson: 1) Luis Arraez, 2) Zack Littell, 3) Cody Stashak
Andrew Thares: 1) Luis Arraez, 2) Ryne Harper, 3) Randy Dobnak
JD Cameron: 1) Luis Arraez, 2) Devin Smeltzer, 3) Cody Stashak
Matt Lenz: 1) Luis Arraez, 2) Zack Littell, 3) Ryne Harper
Nash Walker: 1) Luis Arraez, 2) Devin Smeltzer, 3) Cody Stashak
Patrick Wozniak: 1) Luis Arraez, 2) Zack Littell, 3) Ryne Harper
Thieres Rabelo: 1) Luis Arraez, 2) Ryne Harper, 3) Willians Astudillo
Sabir Aden: 1) Luis Arraez, 2) Willians Astudillo, 3) Ryne Harper
AJ Condon: 1) Luis Arraez, 2) Randy Dobnak, 3) Cody Stashak
Luis Arraez: 54
Zack Littell: 17
Ryne Harper: 12
Devin Smeltzer: 10
Cody Stashak: 6
Randy Dobnak: 6
Willians Astudillo: 3
How would your ballot look? Leave a comment and make your case.
Previous Twins Daily Rookie of the Year Winners
2015: Miguel Sano
2016: Max Kepler
2017: Trevor Hildenberger
2018: Mitch Garver
Click here to view the article
Posted 14 October 2019 - 08:55 PM
This Cody Stashak hill sure is a lonely one to be on I guess
- SQUIRREL and mdawg888 like this
Posted 14 October 2019 - 10:07 PM
I have always cringed about Gwynn comparisons and hyperbole,but I get it. Gwynne had more speed, and developed a little more power over time. Like a similar player of his generation, Boggs, he displayed more power when asked to, at expense of his BA. There is no question Arraez can and probably will develop more pop, if not real power. And he needs to in order to keep pitchers and defenses honest. But unless he just explodes, he should just keep doing what he has always done, and not be asked to do more. He is a hit and OB machine.
He is nothing special defensively. But only 22, it's not hard to expect defensive improvement is it? Kid has instincts! He played a little SS and 3B and found himself tossed out to OF and actually played it OK.
Nick your 3B idea bears discussion, and he did OK, but can his arm handle it? Unless talent of the roster...Lewis...makes him the next Marwin, I see him as the full time 2B for several years. And there is nothing wrong with that.
Glad the Twins did what many of us screamed about last off season, "protect this kid!"
- mikelink45 likes this
Posted 14 October 2019 - 10:54 PM
More power would be great but I don't think it is essential.I compare and contrast to Ben Revere.Revere was a .320 hitter in the minors and a .287 batter in the majors.Pitchers did go after him because of the lack of power but he wasn't as disciplined as Arraez taking around 5% of his at bats for walks. His .287 average was better than average didn't play great because his OBP was only .319 and with no power.I always figured Revere would be a very useful player if he could get his OBP up to around .350 but he couldn't.Arraez has taken nearly double the rate of walks and is already 70 points higher in slugging percentage. Lets not talk about him as if he has no power. There were 15 guys with 200 at bats and Arraez OPS was 6th on the team ahead of Cafe, Castro, Adrianza, Turtle, Gonzo, Buxton, Kron, Rosario and Schoop. Its not great power but if pitchers attack the zone with the sole intention of not walking him the guy will hit .360 with an OBP of .410 and 40 doubles and 6 homers.It is still in their best interests to pitch to the edges to keep him down to a very useful .320 avg and .360 OBP
- mikelink45, Dman, DocBauer and 1 other like this
If you set a man on fire, he'll be warm for the rest of his life.
Posted 15 October 2019 - 06:25 AM
yeah, pretty clear cut.. He needs to work on his defensive game, but he's got a bright future.
Posted 15 October 2019 - 06:52 AM
meanwhile, back on the ranch, Twins cleaned house in Rochester, giving the pink slips to manager Skinner, and coaches Cliburn and Valentin. Skinner was invisible in Rochester, although it was kinda unspoken that Twins called all the shots, even in game...so Skinner was nothing more than a puppet. would like that not to be true but it probably was.
Only Tom Nieto was more unmemorable as a Wings manager during the Twins Era here. Well, Nieto actually was memorable...being arguably the worst manager in Red Wings history,....by a country mile.
Posted 15 October 2019 - 07:51 AM
I like doubles - I am okay with a player who hits 320+ and gets 40 or more doubles.Arraez can be that guy.
- DocBauer and DannySD like this
Posted 15 October 2019 - 08:42 AM
I'd give him Twins ROY soley based on the way he takes pitches..It looks like he almost wants to give the Mutumbo finger wave when he takes a close one that he knows is a ball.
(Edit: I kinda wish he would #makebaseballfunagain).
- jrod23 likes this
Posted 15 October 2019 - 10:08 AM
It looks like he almost wants to give the Mutumbo finger wave when he takes a close one that he knows is a ball.
Awesome Mutumbo reference.
- mdawg888 likes this
Posted 15 October 2019 - 10:33 AM
I don't think everyone truly appreciates how special this kid is because of how far they are into analytics.
- denarded, Danchat and justinone like this
Posted 15 October 2019 - 10:53 AM
I love this kid and don't feel like in 3 years I'm going to look dumb for posting this. And yes, his defense does need to improve and I'm not concerned with his lack of power
- Oldgoat_MN and justinone like this
Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: luis arraez
Twins Daily →
Twins Daily Front Page Articles →
Twins Daily →
Minnesota Twins Talk →
Twins Daily →
Minnesota Twins Talk →
Twins Daily →
Minnesota Twins Talk →
Twins Daily →
Minnesota Twins Talk →