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Where is Luis Arraez' future position?


I'd love people's opinions on this. Second base, left field, third base, designated hitter - or it is just "wherever the leftover spot is after you configure the rest of the team"? Here is his FanGraph's advanced fielding page, FWIW. 

I find it interesting that he graded out slightly above average at 2B last year in 259 innings at UZR. But absolutely abysmal at the same position (also with 200-400 innings) in 2019 and 2021. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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Arraez has only played about a season’s worth of games so far, and not all at 2B, so it makes his defensive metrics a little hard to judge.

FWIW, here is his Statcast defensive page — OAA (outs above average) is the all-inclusive measure, and Arraez is at -15 at 2B so far:

https://baseballsavant.mlb.com/visuals/statcast-infield-defense?type=Fielder&playerId=650333&startYear=2019&endYear=2021&result=&direction=&normalize=undefined&roles=&esrGT=0&esrLT=1&evGT=0&evLT=125&distGT=0&distLT=200&batside=&viz=null

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I am of the opinion that Arraez can be an adequate second baseman.  I don't care what the numbers say, he has been shifted around so much that he hasn't had the opportunity to settle into any position, much less second.  When he came up he spent most of that first year in left, didn't he?  And that was after having what, a couple innings in the outfield during his entire minor league career?

Long term, I am optimistic that second base may be where he ends up, rather than being that #10 starter/utility guy.

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Except for the catcher position, he's basically a better-hitting Tortuga, isn't he?  2B may be his best position on the field, but that is true for a lot of players around the league, notably at least two also on the Twins own 40-man.  And he's not as good at it as those other two.  Utility guy who might challenge for a batting title (we keep telling ourselves) if he gets enough plate appearances - possibly presents a roster problem, maybe not.

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At this point Polanco is back at SS, Arraez 2B and Simmons is gone.  Larnach or Kiriloff have to have LF and probably Kiriloff is at 1B.   DH assuming Cruz is gone is Garver and Sano.  3B is Donaldson if he is able to play and Miranda will be there if he is not.  Gordon utility. 

If trades happen this changes - I am sure they do not want Donaldson back, but they are stuck.  Hard to see another team wanting to have Donaldson so unless we basically pay him to play for someone else we do not get value in return.  Simmons getting available when so many other SS will be on the market reduces his trade value.  Another team would want him for this year only if their SS is injured. 

 

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This is a really hard question I’ve been thinking about quite a bit lately and my conclusion is “there’s no good answer”.

If he can hack it at third, and I don’t think he has been terrible there, he’s a useful piece to the Twins.

If he’s a corner outfielder, he probably needs to be traded.

I don’t even consider Arraez as a viable every day 2B at this point. It’s fine if he starts there once or twice a week or fills in for injury but the plan shouldn’t be Luis at second. 

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I remember when we signed a "super-utility" player who was far less than super.  Arraez should have been that guy all along.  The Twins pumped $21M into Marwin Gonzalez, for what?  No one else ever paid him more than $5M.

This is like when a worker gives a suggestion, the bosses ignore it and go their own route, then their route fails and they come back and go with the original idea.  There will always be a place for Arraez to play.  It's on him to make his defense work at any position.

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19 minutes ago, Brock Beauchamp said:

This is a really hard question I’ve been thinking about quite a bit lately and my conclusion is “there’s no good answer”.

If he can hack it at third, and I don’t think he has been terrible there, he’s a useful piece to the Twins.

If he’s a corner outfielder, he probably needs to be traded.

I don’t even consider Arraez as a viable every day 2B at this point. It’s fine if he starts there once or twice a week or fills in for injury but the plan shouldn’t be Luis at second. 

I agree completely that if he can learn to play 3rd he becomes an asset to the Twins. The Twins outfield is full at this point, and after accounting for Nick Gordon, there are 5 guys I would rather see out there ahead of Luis.

Polanco is above average at second and below average at short, so I don't want to move him off second. Luis can't play SS or 1B, so that says to me he needs to do what he can to be competent at 3rd.

Positional flexibility/versatility is all well and good until you have a bunch of guys who don't excel anywhere. Arraez should fit in around where others excel in order to put the best team on the field.

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28 minutes ago, Dodecahedron said:

I remember when we signed a "super-utility" player who was far less than super.  Arraez should have been that guy all along.  The Twins pumped $21M into Marwin Gonzalez, for what?  No one else ever paid him more than $5M.

This is like when a worker gives a suggestion, the bosses ignore it and go their own route, then their route fails and they come back and go with the original idea.  There will always be a place for Arraez to play.  It's on him to make his defense work at any position.

This is a bit of revisionist history, I think. Gonzalez was signed before the 2019 season, Arraez didn't make his debut until May of 2019 and people were a bit shocked to see him called up, as it seemed like a bit of a reach by the front office at the time.

Here was Arraez's MiLB stat line in 2018. There was little to no reason to expect him to catapult to the majors and thrive so quickly.

Year Age AgeDif Tm Lg Lev Aff G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB GDP HBP SH SF IBB
2018 21   2 Teams 2 Lgs A+-AA MIN 108 453 406 52 126 20 3 3 36 4 3 32 44 .310 .361 .397 .758 161 8 3 7 5 1
2018 21 -3.0 Chattanooga SOUL AA MIN 48 195 178 25 53 6 0 2 16 2 0 13 16 .298 .345 .365 .711 65 4 1 1 2 1
2018 21 -1.4 Fort Myers FLOR A+ MIN 60 258 228 27 73 14 3 1 20 2 3 19 28 .320 .373 .421 .794 96 4 2 6 3
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Interesting talker, for sure.  I liked the idea of super-utility guy to keep his bat in the lineup, but didn't really like it on the defensive side.  I'm not sure I'd consider that a wash though.  I'm conflicted.

I think his best suited as a 2B, but he's not unseating Polanco.  So, he's redundant there.  He's not an outfielder no matter how much they slot him there.

"Ideally", I'd slot him at DH if Cruz isn't on the roster.  I like what he brings offensively, I just don't know where he really fits with the glove.

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The comparisons between Arraez and Carew have been frequent, if a little bit of a stretch, but in this case I think it may be an apt comparison.  Carew came up as a hit first, field second second baseman.  The Twins worked hard on Carew's fielding, which improved significantly and resulted in multiple outstanding seasons at 2nd.  I would expect a similar strategy would be ideal for Arraez.  The only problem is that it is clear that second is clearly Polanco's best position?   It is not inconceivable that the Twins are forced to make a decision.

I think it is fair to say that the Twins' focus on utility players who have strong hitting skills and weaker fielding skills has been a failure.  If Gordon can be a consistent fielder, I think the super-utility is his job to keep.  Unfortunately, he has also been an unreliable fielder and also slots in best at second. 

It may be the case that there just isn't room for Gordon, Polanco and Arraez on the 26 man.  The team may need to shift to the more traditional utility infielder who can plan short, third and second.

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We can continue gathering data the rest of the season to see if he’s adequate anywhere besides 2B. I don’t believe he’ll ever have the range or arm for 3B unless in dire situations. He’s looked bad in the OF. 
 

This is one of several examples showing the flaws of this roster. I’d like to see Falvey and Levine make a decision on Polanco or Arraez at 2B then trade the other one in the winter. This also needs to happen with the gluttony of bat-first corner OF/1B in the organization. 

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18 minutes ago, Mike Sixel said:

Best position? Part of a trade for pitching. 

Okay, but the receiving team probably will inquire as to where to play him. "Decide for youself" could be construed as a bit of a red flag from those who know the player best. :)

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I hate to say it, but I'm definitely not sold on a guy who apparently can't play defense and has zero power. To top it all off he has below average speed.

His contact and eye/plate discipline have made him a valuable hitter. How long can he be a valuable player based on contact and eye alone?

Hopefully he can figure one of those things out.

As far as what position he should play, I have no idea. The only options to me seem to be 2B/3B.

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30 minutes ago, Vanimal46 said:

We can continue gathering data the rest of the season to see if he’s adequate anywhere besides 2B. I don’t believe he’ll ever have the range or arm for 3B unless in dire situations. He’s looked bad in the OF. 
 

This is one of several examples showing the flaws of this roster. I’d like to see Falvey and Levine make a decision on Polanco or Arraez at 2B then trade the other one in the winter. This also needs to happen with the gluttony of bat-first corner OF/1B in the organization. 

I have not understood the draft strategy? How many power hitting corner outfielders do we need? And we had locked up Kepler before we drafted most of them. We have a desperate need for starting pitching, yet we keep taking all the Sabato's Wallners, Rookers, Larnach's & Kirilloffs we can find. Ideally we can find a taker for Donaldson and Simmons and free up some room in the infield. Arraez plays a fine 3B - move Jorge to SS, and Gordon gets 2B for the balance of this season. That puts Kirilloff at 1B, Sano can DH, and back up 1B & 3B. Then hope in the winter we make better sense of this roster, and trade off the duplication. I am still hoping Wander Javier comes through for us - outside of him we have no shortstop coming any time soon. 

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Just now, Tibs said:

His contact and eye/plate discipline have made him a valuable hitter. How long can he be a valuable player based on contact and eye alone?

Given that he's only in his age 24 season, probably long enough the Twins don't care too much about his decline. If my math is right, he'll be a free agent after his age 28 season, still plenty young enough not to see declining bat speed and contact rate.

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Lots of variables at play here. Can't imagine they're bringing Simmons back next year (hope he's traded for a low A flier next month), and can't imagine they'll sign one of the big name SS this offseason (although I'd love it if they did). If they are convinced Lewis can be the SS of the future and will be ready mid to late 2022 or early 2023 I think they move Polanco back to SS and plug Arraez in at 2nd for next year. 

My plan, however, would be Arraez at 3rd, FA signing at SS, Polanco at 2nd, Kirilloff at 1st with Donaldson and Sano shipped out for a bag of balls to get their $ off the books to help sign FA SS. I don't think Arraez is ever going to be an above average fielder, but he's not an OFer and we have plenty of corner guys there. I do think he can be serviceable at 2nd or 3rd if they'd just put him there and let him work at it. He appears to be a lover of the game and hard worker so I'd think he could make improvements if given a position and some drills to help improve himself. 

It's all well and good to have "positional flexibility," but, as many others have pointed out on this site, being bad at multiple positions isn't really flexibility. I don't know if Rocco and the FO are learning anything (Rocco changing the lineup literally everyday doesn't lend itself to that idea), but I think having most of your players focus on 1 position on the field and in the lineup is helpful. I think Arraez is a vital part of this lineup that's full of too many K heavy sluggers with poor bat to ball skills. Same with Polanco. The idea of trading either makes me cringe. Playing for 3 run jacks without any real ability to just drive in a run (BA with RISP is embarrassing this year) is fun and all, but having Arraez and Polanco type hitters who can just put the ball in play when needed isn't something that should be overlooked.

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15 minutes ago, ashbury said:

Okay, but the receiving team probably will inquire as to where to play him. "Decide for youself" could be construed as a bit of a red flag from those who know the player best. :)

I guess if he's part of a package, the acquiring team can decide. I don't really see how that's the Twins' issue. To me, he's redundant, and teams should deal redundant players for positions of need. If no team sees him as valuable, that's a piece of information for the FO.....

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8 minutes ago, Brock Beauchamp said:

While your general point is accurate, Kirilloff was drafted by the interim front office that preceded Falvey and Levine.

Of course, he was there when they drafted the next set of corner OF / 1B......but sure, the "they can deal them for pitching" crowd sure is quiet right now.....

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6 minutes ago, Brock Beauchamp said:

While your general point is accurate, Kirilloff was drafted by the interim front office that preceded Falvey and Levine.

And we take Cavaco instead of pitching. Is there another team in baseball that has gone this long without taking pitching in round 1? Who was the last starting pitching prospect we drafted #1 - Tyler Jay? Anyone else recently, like in the last 10 years? 

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4 minutes ago, In My La Z boy said:

And we take Cavaco instead of pitching. Is there another team in baseball that has gone this long without taking pitching in round 1? Who was the last starting pitching prospect we drafted #1 - Tyler Jay? Anyone else recently, like in the last 10 years? 

Since 2010 they've taken Alex Wimmers, Hudson Boyd, Jose Berrios, Luke Bard, Kohl Stewart, Tyler Jay in the 1st/Supplemental round.

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2 minutes ago, chpettit19 said:

Since 2010 they've taken Alex Wimmers, Hudson Boyd, Jose Berrios, Luke Bard, Kohl Stewart, Tyler Jay in the 1st/Supplemental round.

So 6 pitchers in 11 years of drafts - and I am sure we had 2 #1 picks at least twice. Maybe this is a part of the problem in training up and producing quality starting pitching. We should be drafting higher caliber pitching prospects, and we're not. 

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9 minutes ago, In My La Z boy said:

So 6 pitchers in 11 years of drafts - and I am sure we had 2 #1 picks at least twice. Maybe this is a part of the problem in training up and producing quality starting pitching. We should be drafting higher caliber pitching prospects, and we're not. 

Well, I think the point was supposed to be that they haven't taken a pitcher in the 1st round since 2015, which means the current FO has not spent a 1st on a pitcher to date. They've had a handful of competitive advantage 1st rounders that they've spent on Berrios, Rooker, Hudson Boyd, and etc, so the skew towards hitters is heavier than the stat implies.

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48 minutes ago, Mike Sixel said:

I guess if he's part of a package, the acquiring team can decide. I don't really see how that's the Twins' issue.

I took your post as a humorous non-answer, since the thread title is literally "Where is Luis Arraez' future position" and the short article stayed pretty much on-point.  My response was also intended to be humorous (the smiley face kind of tipped my pitch).  Whether or not it's the Twins' issue, it's the question being asked.  And now here we are, debating for the umpteenth time whether the FO should draft pitchers.

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2 minutes ago, In My La Z boy said:

So 6 pitchers in 11 years of drafts - and I am sure we had 2 #1 picks at least twice. Maybe this is a part of the problem in training up and producing quality starting pitching. We should be drafting higher caliber pitching prospects, and we're not. 

I think there is a generally held idea that you take a bat over an arm in the draft if they're graded similarly. Hitters tend to be more likely to become the player you think they will be. I mean that list of 6 pitchers is not exactly a who's who of big league pitching talent. Cleveland has built their pitching pipeline off non-first round picks. deGrom was a 9th round pick. Plenty of examples of not needing to spend a 1st to get a big time arm. 

The Rooker and Sabato picks are questionable ones to me. They were incredible in college, but they're basically DHs only so need to be Cruz in order to be a good pick so you don't leave yourself much room for error there. I think Cavaco is a different type of pick than that. Same with Lewis. I loved the Larnach pick at the time and he's showing to be quite talented and I see him as different than Rooker and Sabato in that he's a legit OFer (not gold glove, but he's an average defender) and he just seems like a professional hitter who's born with contact skills and a work ethic that makes him rare. 

In order to say Rooker and Sabato were bad picks, or any of the others, you have to go back to the time they were made and see who else was available and how they were perceived at the time. It's quite possible the Twins didn't have any arms rated better than the bats they took. It could be they are a "best player available" type FO. Which I'd argue is the best way to go in baseball as there's typically at least 3 years between a player being drafted and debuting in the majors. And those are the start players. SO your team could look very different by then so drafting for need isn't a great idea. But they've taken 2 shortstops and that's certainly a positional need for this team moving forward. Rooker and Sabato are "interesting" picks, but the other 3 firsts they've made don't look like ridiculous picks to me.

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16 minutes ago, ashbury said:

I took your post as a humorous non-answer, since the thread title is literally "Where is Luis Arraez' future position" and the short article stayed pretty much on-point.  My response was also intended to be humorous (the smiley face kind of tipped my pitch).  Whether or not it's the Twins' issue, it's the question being asked.  And now here we are, debating for the umpteenth time whether the FO should draft pitchers.

Fair......I'd say 2B, but I'd prefer him at DH or as a serious backup, not starter. Defense matters, as does power.

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