It's somewhat rare these days for two MLB teams to swap excellent major-league players, but that happened this offseason when the Marlins acquired 2022 AL batting champion Luis Arraez from the Twins for pitcher Pablo Lopez (and two prospects). Miami is light years better offensively this year with Arraez in the lineup, and he's scorching-hot entering Tuesday's home matchup vs. Kansas City and priced +145 at Caesars Sportsbook to have another multi-hit game.
If not for Arraez, the Yankees' Aaron Judge would have won the AL Triple Crown last year. The only category the New York slugger didn't win was batting average -- Arraez led the AL with a .316 mark while registering more walks (50) than strikeouts (43). Judge finished second at .311. Arraez then became first player to win a batting championship and be traded in following the offseason since Rod Carew won the AL batting title in 1978 with the Twins and was then traded to the Angels ahead of the 1979 season.
The 26-year-old Venezuelan is a Tony Gwynn or Wade Boggs type of hitte. He hits for a high average, doesn't strike out much and may win multiple batting titles, but doesn't have a ton of power. Arraez leads the majors with a .399 average but has just one home run (despite slugging .495). That lone dinger came April 11 vs. the Phillies.
Miami's cavernous outfield may also contribute to Arraez's lack of homers. Per BaseballSavant, the Marlins' LoanDepot Park has been the fourth-hardest stadium to hit a home run at since the start of the 2021 season. Arraez did have a two-homer game in Miami during this year's World Baseball Classic while playing for Team Venezuela.
Arraez went 3-for-4 with a double and two RBI in Monday's 9-6 win over the Royals, which followed a two-hit game Sunday and five-hit game Saturday, both against Oakland and both also in wins. Arraez is the first MLB player to record 10 hits and eight RBI despite having zero homers over a three-game span since Hall of Famer George Brett did so for the Royals in August 1990. Those are the only two instances of it happening over the last 50 years. Brett won his final batting title that season at .329.
The Royals start former AL Cy Young Award winner Zack Greinke (1-5, 4.19 ERA) tonight, and Arraez is 5-for-16 career off him with two RBI and no strikeouts. He has whiffed just 11 times in 208 at-bats this year.
Don't look now, but surging Miami is just three games behind first-place Atlanta in the NL East. Skip Schumaker is a leading candidate for NL Manager of the Year.
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