StaTuesday: Twins rookie Arraez’s hot start, by the numbers
The Minnesota Twins have been all about the long ball this season.
They broke the franchise home runs record Friday with a month and a half to go, and are on pace to shatter the MLB record.
One of the other stories of the season: A 22-year-old rookie who has gone yard just eight times in six years as a pro.
He’s hitting .350/.421/.446 through the first 52 games of his major-league career after hanging out in the .400s for his first 25 games.
The only Twins with a higher average through their first 52 career games: Tony Oliva, Lew Ford and Mike Ryan. A few of the guys behind Arraez: Kirby Puckett, Rod Carew and Joe Mauer.
A quick disclaimer: Ryan and Ford didn’t amount to much.
Ryan appeared in a handful of games for the Twins from 2002-05, resurfacing with the Los Angeles Angels in 2010. Ford was a regular briefly in the mid-aughts, popping up again with the Baltimore Orioles in 2012.
Oliva is in the Twins Hall of Fame after winning three batting titles and making eight consecutive All-Star games.
It’s quite the spread. They’re both extremes, but Arraez’s career to this point doesn’t really scream “marginal big leaguer.”
A career .331 hitter in the minors, Arraez’s bat has been consistent over the years, but his arrival didn’t appear imminent either.
Signed as a 16-year-old international free agent back in 2013, Arraez advanced quickly, making his Double-A debut last year, and entered the season as MLB Pipeline’s 17th-ranked Twins prospect.
He was summoned to Triple-A Rochester in May after Red Wings shortstop Nick Gordon landed on the injured list, but spent just three games there before another injury accelerated the timeline even further.
Arraez made his MLB debut just four days after his first Triple-A game, joining the Twins during a west-coast road trip. Oliva was, coincidentally, along for the ride, his first Twins road trip in decades.
Arraez made waves immediately, going 7-for-15 with three walks, a home run and a double during the final five games of the road trip.
He didn’t strike out over that span, going seven games and 22 plate appearances before striking out for the first time as a major leaguer, during a 7-0 win over the Chicago White Sox on May 26.
Sent down not long after, Arraez tore it up during his first real stint in Triple-A, hitting .346 in 13 games before rejoining the Twins in mid-June.
A few months later he’s still a tough guy to fan. Arraez has stuck out just 14 times in 177 at-bats with 22 walks for a 1.571 BB/K ratio.
Alvarez led MLB.com’s ROY poll with 40 of 44 first-place votes Monday after hitting .355 with 17 home runs through 46 games, followed by Tampa Bay Rays second baseman Brandon Lowe and Baltimore Orioles pitcher John Means, both All-Stars.
Still, after going from Double-A to the majors in a matter of days, six weeks seems like plenty of time for Arraez to jump into the ROY race.