Luis Arraez Generates Attention With His Bat

Luis Arraez (Photo by Paul Gierhart) Luis Arraez (Photo by Paul Gierhart)

MINNEAPOLISHis 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.

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