This is part of an off-season series on 2022’s silver linings. Check out parts one, two, three, and four.
The 2022 season did not end on a happy note for the Twins- especially considering they led the AL Central for most of the first half. However, there’s plenty of things to look at with optimism, both from 2022 and for 2023. Today’s topic: Luis Arraez’s 2022 batting title coronation.
Part V: Luis Arraez’s Coronation
When Luis Arraez burst onto the scene with the 2019 “Bomba Squad” club, the baseball world said “Who?”
When he proceeded to hit .334 over 94 games, they weren’t asking anymore. Anyone who was paying attention knew, and the conversation took a turn. “This kid is going to win a batting title someday.”
Injuries and a worldwide pandemic shortened and derailed his 2020 and 2021 seasons. He his .321 and .294 anyway.
In 2022, Arraez was finally able to play a full (mostly healthy) season. And the crown that many had predicted finally became his.
Arraez is a true throwback in today’s game. Arraez does not care about his launch angle, he does not swing for the fences, he does not strike out, and he does not have extreme pull tendencies.
Arraez just hits. Corner to corner, gap to gap, over or through the infield, in front or behind the outfield, it doesn’t matter. With an uncanny sense of the strike zone and otherworldly bat control, the spark plug utilityman simply hits ‘em where they ain’t. He’s shift-proof, strikeout-averse, and generally everything that the modern hitter is not.
Anyway you slice it, Luis Arraez’s first batting title crown was very impressive. If you don’t believe me, ask John Foley. Arraez his .316, made his first all-star team, and added his first Silver Slugger to the mantle. Now with a .314 career average through 1400+ at-bats at only 25 years old, he may have a long and decorated career ahead.
Rod Carew, with his seven batting titles, is one of Arraez’s biggest fans. With improvement, health, and a little bit of luck, Arraez might just match him in crowns someday.