The Luis Arraez trade is getting embarrassing for the Twins

Luis Arraez looks like a cinch to win the National League batting title and he could threaten to become the first .400 hitter since Ted Williams in 1941. Meanwhile, Pablo Lopez, the right-hander the Twins received by trading Arraez to the Marlins, has been an average starting pitcher. 

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Monday night was the ultimate in-your-face for the Twins as Arraez went 5-for-5 while Lopez was the losing pitcher in Minnesota’s 9-3 loss to the Red Sox. The loss dropped the Twins a game below .500 (35-36) while the Marlins won to improve to 42-31, the third-best record in the National League. 

At this point, it’s getting embarrassing for the Twins as Arraez pushed his batting average back up to .400 while Lopez’s latest meh start gave him a 4.40 ERA. Not exactly the stuff of a high-end starting the pitcher the Twins wanted.

But wait, it gets worse. 

Arraez leads the majors in hits (102), batting average (.400) and on-base percentage (.400). He ranks sixth in OPS (.941) and only 12 offensive players have a higher WAR than his 2.7. For perspective, Shohei Ohtani’s offensive WAR is 3.0. The best offensive WAR on the Twins belongs to Carlos Correa Byron Buxton Willi Castro at 1.4. 

Lopez ranks 52nd among qualified starters in ERA (4.40) and his 1.0 WAR is 103rd among all pitchers and 62nd among starting pitchers. So in other words, the Twins traded one of the game’s most valuable bats for an average starting pitcher. 

Sure, Lopez is third in the big leagues with 110 strikeouts, and his 11 strikeouts per nine innings ranks sixth, But beyond that he’s average. 

What Arraez is doing is better than anyone expected, but it’s not like he came out of nowhere. He’s the same guy who won the AL batting title last season with a .316 average. And because he’s only 26 years old, improvement should’ve been expected this season and he’ll likely only get better as he enters the prime of his career. 

What’s crazy is that the second-best qualified batting average in the majors is Ronald Acuna at .325. That’s seventy-five points behind Arraez. Donovan Solano leads the Twins with a .282 batting average. That’s 118 points behind Arraez. 

Arraez has nearly double the hits as Minnesota’s hit leader (Correa with 52). 

This could go down as one of the best displays of batsmanship in MLB history. Consider that hitting .370 for a full season has only been done 12 times since 1941.

  1. Ted Williams: .406 in 1941
  2. Tony Gwynn: .394 in 1994
  3. George Brett: .390 in 1980
  4. Ted Williams: .388 in 1957
  5. Rod Carew: .388 in 1977
  6. Larry Walker: .379 in 1999
  7. Stan Musial: .376 in 1948
  8. Tony Gwynn: .372 in 1997
  9. Nomar Garciaparra: .372 in 2000
  10. Todd Helton: .372 in 2000
  11. Ichiro Suzuki: 372 in 2004
  12. Barry Bonds: .370 in 2002

Equally as incredible is that Arraez has THREE five-hit games this month. The most five-hit games by any player in a career since 1956 is ten by Pete Rose, according to Baseball Reference. Kirby Puckett had five hits in a game six times in his Hall of Fame career. Paul Molitor did it seven times. 

Arraez is a hitting machine and the Twins may have made a gigantic mistake by letting him go in an effort to quench the franchise’s thirst for a high-end starting pitcher. 

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