Luis Arraez Generates Attention With His Bat
Luis Arraez (Photo by Paul Gierhart)
MINNEAPOLIS–His position, his age, his small stature all would suggest that Luis Arraez must be a fast guy, a prototypical speedy second baseman. But he’s not.
And the Twins don’t care.
"He’s not really fast enough to steal a lot of bases,” interim general manager Rob Antony said, "but you don’t have to steal if you start on second base.”
That’s where Arraez, a 19-year-old Venezuelan, wound up 31 times this season. He had plenty of other hits, too, though, running away with the low Class A Midwest League batting title despite being one of the youngest players in the league.
Arraez hit .347/.386/.444 in 114 games. His .347 average has been topped by a Cedar Rapids player just twice since World War II—once by Howie Kendrick (.367 in 2004) and the other by Mike Trout (.362 in 2010).
"He’s a solid defender, but not flashy,” Antony said. "He’s not really fast. He’s small (5-foot-10, 155 pounds) and doesn’t have much power. But he can really hit. He’s amazing at the plate.”
The Twins signed the lefthanded-hitting Arraez for just $40,000 in 2013, because scouts focused on his deficiencies, Antony said, rather than noticing what a savant he is with the bat.
"His (run) times weren’t great, his (batting practice) doesn’t blow you away, so he wasn’t a big shot. Teams passed on him,” Antony said. "We signed him, and he so impressed us in the (Rookie-level Gulf Coast League) last summer, that he skipped Rookie ball this year and went right to (low Class) A ball. He ended up being the catalyst on that team, just a relentless hitter. Now we get calls from other teams about him all the time.”
Best of all, Antony said, is how professional Arraez’s at-bats already are—he drew 31 walks and struck out 51 times.
"He looks like an ideal two-hole guy, an on-base machine,” Antony said. "Scouts look for guys who do everything well, but some guys have skills so advanced in one area, the rest of it doesn’t matter.”
• After 10 seasons in the system, 1,070 minor league games and 4,383 plate appearances, second baseman James Beresford was rewarded with a September callup. "I’m a Jimmy fan,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "Once in a while, people need to be rewarded for everything they’ve done for an organization.”
• The Twins renewed their player-development contract with the Triple-A Rochester.