Should we be worried about Luis Arraez? In a word, no.
Luis Arraez, following the start that we had all envisioned for him, has seen a cold streak sabotage his batting average over the past week. Arraez is 0 for his last 19 at-bats (at the time of this writing), a streak that dates back to Shane Bieber’s dominating performance against the Twins on the last day of July.
So what is behind this mega-slump? Will Arraez be able to pull out of it in this short season? While only time will tell, we should expect a large amount of positive regression for our young second baseman. While this season represents an almost irrelevantly small sample size, let’s look at the stats anyway.
So far this season, Arraez is seeing more pitches per plate appearance than last season (4.39 vs. 4.06) and he’s striking out at the same rate while walking at a slightly higher one. All of his contact/swing percentage numbers are very similar to last year, so his discipline and swing accuracy have not changed. He’s seeing a very similar pitch mix thus far, especially considering that the small number of pitchers he’s faced would dramatically effect this.
So what’s going on? His soft contact percentage is even down 3% from last year (although his hard contact is also down 5%), but his batting average on balls in play has absolutely cratered. Especially considering Arraez’s ability to spray the ball to all fields, and in some cases actively avoid fielders, this is very strange. His .355 BABIP from last year was very much in line with his BABIP throughout the minor leagues, as this particular stat tends to be. However, he has fallen off a cliff to .226 this year. Seeing as pretty much all of the underlying stats that are behind BABIP have basically stayed the same, the only conclusion I can come to is this: Arraez has had a real cluster of bad luck.
In 2018 across baseball, a hard-hit ball (95+ MPH EV) produced a batting average of .524.— Matthew Taylor (@MatthewTaylorMN) August 5, 2020
Thus far in 2020, Luis Arráez has 8 hard hit balls which have only produced 2 hits.
Positive regression is coming!