Twins super-utilityman Luis Arraez had to be carted off the field during the seventh inning of today’s 4-3 Minnesota win over Kansas City. Arraez and teammate Willians Astudillo collided on the pitcher’s mound while chasing a pop-up off the bat of the Royals’ Hunter Dozier.
As ugly as the injury looked, x-rays were negative, and Twins manager Rocco Baldelli told reporters that Arraez suffered a sprained right ankle. The severity of the sprain isn’t yet certain, and the team doesn’t yet know whether or not Arraez will be available for Game One of the ALDS against the Yankees on Friday.
Losing Arraez for the postseason would be a major blow for the Twins, which represents just how much of an impact the 22-year-old has made in his rookie season. After making his MLB debut in mid-May, Arraez was recalled from Triple-A for good on June 18 and has been an everyday player for Minnesota, playing mostly at second base but also seeing significant time as a left fielder and third baseman (plus a handful of games at shortstop).
As a pure contact hitter in today’s power-heavy game, Arraez’s throwback approach has resulted in solidly above-average offensive production (125 wRC+) and a .334/.399/.439 slash line over 366 plate appearances. Arraez’s 8.0% strikeout rate is the lowest of any player with at least 350 PA this season, and he is one of the very few regulars who racked up more walks (36) than strikeouts (29).
There was a bit of good fortune mixed into those results, as Arraez’s .334 xwOBA was below his .367 wOBA and he did enjoy a .355 BABIP. But his performance wasn’t exactly a surprise, as Arraez consistently scored high BABIP totals while also posting high averages and on-base numbers during his six years in Minnesota’s farm system. Arraez wasn’t considered to be a top-flight prospect, though he did hit .331/.385/.414 over 1585 PA as a Twins minor leaguer.
Even if Arraez is out for Game One, the Twins are expected to get some reinforcements back in the form of Max Kepler and Marwin Gonzalez. Arraez essentially usurped the super-util role the Twins had in mind for Gonzalez when they signed him to a two-year, $21MM free agent deal last winter, though Gonzalez has battled some injuries and been inconsistent at the plate.