STAR SPOTLIGHT: Luis Arraez, 2022 AL batting champ
It’s almost a shame Aaron Judge had a once-in-a-lifetime season in 2022. The Yankee right-fielder’s quest to break the AL single-season home run record — while vying for a rare triple crown — completely overshadowed the accomplishments of Luis Arraez.
The then-Twins infielder hit .316, enough to win the American League batting title — and prevent Judge, the runner-up with .311, from achieving the first triple crown since Miguel Cabrera in 2012.
Hitting .300 in 2022 was typical for Arraez, who has reached that mark in three of his first four years, good for a .317 career average in an era when power is seen as a more valuable commodity than contact.
Born in San Felipe, Venezuela, Arraez signed with the Twins as a 16 year old and made his major league debut in 2019, quickly becoming a fan favorite with his clutch hitting and penchant for getting on base. He hit .334 in 92 games and finished sixth in the AL Rookie of the Year voting.
In the pandemic-shortened 2021 season, Arraez hit .321 in 32 games and continued to show his ability to make consistent contact — a throwback to Twins’ icon Rod Carew. He finished the season with a .294 average and carried that momentum into his title-winning 2022 season.
In a surprise move, the sweet-swinging lefty hitter was traded to the Miami Marlins before the start of the 2023 but then picked up where he left off, hitting nearly .500 for his new team in the first week of the season as the 26-year-old tries to become the rare hitter to win a batting title in both leagues.
Hit .334 in 92 games as a rookie, the fourth-best average in the American League.
Became the first rookie in MLB history to record four hits in his postseason debut game, on October 4, 2019.
In 2020, led the league in contact rate (93.3%) and had the lowest strikeout rate (6.9%) in the majors.
Finished the 2020 season with a .321 average, seventh in the American League.
Won the AL batting title in 2022 with a .316 average while adding a career-best 8 home runs.