Connect with us


The Case For Luis Arraez Batting .400

Luis Arraez is currently on pace to do what no one in baseball has done since 1941: post a .400 or better batting average in a season.

The game of baseball has seen dramatic changes in the rules for the 2023 season. The changes, however, are lending the game for possibilities of historic feats to repeat themselves. One such long-awaited feat is a .400 hitter, something not seen in the Major Leagues since 1941 by OF Ted Williams. Last year’s American League batting title winner and current Miami Marlins 2B Luis Arraez is on pace to end this drought. Entering Sunday’s action, he was batting .402. With the pace Arraez is currently going as well as the new rule changes, there is a strong case to think that he could accomplish this feat this season. Here is a look at reasons to believe.

The Current Pace Arraez Is On

In the Live Ball Era (since 1920), only nine players have accomplished this feat. Of the nine, Arraez is hitting better than four of them through the first 63 games. Arraez is right in the middle of the pack and has gone an amazing 18-35 in the month of June, giving him the seventh best average through the first 63 games of a season according to FanNation. Arraez has a greater challenge given that none of these other players had to do it in 162 games. What helps his case, however, is that the Marlins only have seven games left against teams whose pitching is among the top three in batting average against this season.

Among the last four players to hold a .400 batting average as far or further into the season as Arraez right now, only two of them had a higher average at this point in the season.

In 2000, SS Nomar Garciaparra of the Boston Red Sox batted .400 up to the 91st game of the season. Through 63 games however, his batting average was .389. The year prior to that in 1999, INF Tony Fernandez of the Toronto Blue Jays was batting .394 through 63 games before going on a tear and holding a .400 average as late as game 78 in the season. For 3B Chipper Jones in 2008, it was the opposite. He was batting an impressive .420 through 63 games. He did not accomplish the feat as he finished the season with a .364 average.

The case of Jones shows what can easily happen to prevent the feat. Arraez’s current expected average is .336 according to Baseball Savant. That is one of the best in the league, but it implies his average will decline going forward. However, Arraez’s hill is not as big of a climb as some of these past chasers.

Rule Changes = More Availability for This Particular Feat

As expected, batting averages are up this season thanks to the new rule restricting the shift. Contact hitters like Arraez can come back into the spotlight. Arraez’s singles are smothered all over the field according to his hit spray chart on Savant. He also currently has the lowest strikeout rate in the league at 5.1%. What also helps his case is the fact that he knows he clearly does not have to swing for the fences. In 248 plate appearances he has just one, yes, one home run. His maximum exit velocity is a mere 101.4 MPH. This is among the bottom 7% in the league. Furthermore, his hard-hit percentage of just 23.4% is among the bottom 2% in the league. Both of these stats are even down from last year. Both should help his case knowing that he can always be depended upon for base knocks. 

Not A Promising Year for Pitchers So Far

Speaking of rule changes, the pitch clock has been a rough introduction for pitchers. This season, pitchers have given up the most hits through nine innings since 2019. Back then, the balls were supposedly juiced. Batting averages among balls in play are also back up to 2019 levels. 

Additionally, this season is anything but certain among pitching stability. Several star pitchers have landed on the injured list including the likes of Jacob DeGrom, Max Fried, and many others. If these trends continue, it should play to Arraez’s advantage. Every hitter faces great pitchers, but they might be facing fewer going forward.

Overall Outlook

With a batting average 66 points higher than the second-best hitter (1B Freddie Freeman at .336) there is no reason to think Arraez will not win the batting title for the second consecutive year. He would be the first player to do so since OF Chrisitan Yelich in 2018 and 2019. Arraez would also become just the second player along with INF DJ LeMahieu to win it in two different leagues in the Modern Era, as last year he won it on an AL squad.

Among all these potential feats, the .400 average one is what the world of sports will be keeping the closest eye on. Arraez is also showing no signs of slowing down, riding a seven-game hitting streak. This current pace as well as some of the active trends around the game should support the case for this milestone at season’s end.

All stats through Saturday, June 10.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Featured Articles

Featured Writers

More in Features