StaTuesday: Twins youngster Arraez impressing in first taste of big leagues

Just over two weeks ago, Minnesota Twins prospect Luis Arraez, who turned 22 last month, was among the Double-A Pensacola Blue Wahoos’ hottest hitters.

Promoted to Triple-A Rochester last Tuesday, Arraez was called up for the first time a few days later, joining the Twins for their road trip to Seattle and Los Angeles.

At this rate, he might soon become a permanent fixture in the dugout.

Arraez started at second base Monday night in the Twins’ 3-1 win over the Los Angeles Angels, going 3-for-4 and improving to 5-and-8 (a wild .625) with two walks and a double in his first three major-league games.

All that after smacking a double Saturday in his Twins debut and tacking up a single a day later.

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He has yet to strike out.

His start ranks favorably in Twins history among rookies, as Arraez is one of nine players to notch five or more hits in a player’s first three career games.

And he did it with the fewest amount of plate appearances — 10.

Topping that list is Wilson Ramos, a highly touted catcher prospect who collected seven hits in his first three career games, only to later be traded for (oof) Matt Capps in 2010. Another catcher, Josmil Pinto, also tallied seven hits, although his career mostly spurted out after that.

Two more notable names in Twins history, Kirby Puckett and Justin Morneau, are right below those two with six hits. Puckett famously went 4-for-5 in his MLB debut and Morneau tallied multiple hits in his first two career games.

Kennys Vargas, who many proclaimed to be the second coming of David Ortiz, excited fans with five hits in 15 plate appearances in 2014, while Willians Astudillo jumped right into his status as a fan favorite with five hits of his own last season.

PLAYER YEAR PA H 2B RBI BA OBP
Wilson Ramos 2010 12 7 3 1 .583 .583
Josmil Pinto 2013 11 7 2 1 .700 .727
Kirby Puckett 1984 14 6 0 0 .429 .429
Justin Morneau 2003 12 6 0 2 .545 .583
Kennys Vargas 2014 15 5 1 4 .357 .400
Dave McCarty 1993 13 5 0 0 .385 .385
Brian Buchanan 2000 12 5 0 1 .417 .417
Willians Astudillo 2018 11 5 0 3 .455 .455
Luis Arraez 2019 10 5 1 0 .625 .700

The Twins’ No. 17 prospect per MLB Pipeline, Arraez’s ranking isn’t quite commensurate with his sweet swing.

Even the folks over at MLB.com — the source of that ranking, remember — dubbed him the third-best hitter in the Twins’ system, behind Alex Kirilloff and Royce Lewis.

Signed as an international free agent back in 2013, Arraez has been doing this since making his debut with the organization in the Dominican Summer League back in 2014.

He hit .348 in 31 games during that first season with the DSL Twins, a number he’s more-or-less maintained ever since.

Arraez hit .323 in rookie ball, .347 in Single-A, .324 in Single-A Advanced, .318 in Double-A and .357 during a three-game stint in Triple-A for a combined minor-league batting average of .331.

His .342 in 38 games for Double-A Pensacola this season leads the Southern League, and is second in all of Double-A.

It’s a small sample size thus far, but early indications are Arraez might be able to hit well in the majors, too.