Miami Marlins left-handed hitter Luis Arajuez (26-Venezuela) has been hitting like crazy.
Araúez went 5-for-5 with a home run against the Oakland Athletics on March 3. After his first five-hit game of the season, Arajuez has now pounded out eight hits in his last four games. As of the 8th, his season batting average is exactly 4% (86 hits in 215 at-bats). Unsurprisingly, this is the highest batting average in all of Major League Baseball (MLB).
He’s been especially hot in his last 15 games, batting a whopping .448. While the team has only played 37% of its regular season schedule (60 games), it’s easy to get excited about the prospect of a .400 batting average. MLB.com has a daily highlight video of Arajuez.
Miami manager Skip Schumaker said, “It’s hard to think of a hitter hitting the way he’s hitting right now. It’s crazy. Honestly, there’s no comparison. I’ve never seen a hitter like him.” Araújo, who broke into the big leagues with the Minnesota Twins in 2019, led the American League in batting last year (.316) in his fourth year and is now battling in the “dream zone.
The “four-hitter” is an extinct animal. In Major League Baseball (MLB), Ted Williams (0.406) last hit over .400 in 1941. After that, the closest was Tony Gwynn’s 0.394 in 1994, when the season ended early in August due to a labor strike. The best in the 21st century is 0.372 by Ichiro Suzuki in 2004. In 2009, Joe Mauer hit .415 through 71 games, but ended the season at .365.
As sabermetrics (a statistical and mathematical approach to baseball) has evolved, batting average has become less valuable and on-base percentage has become more valuable. Hitters are more inclined to take an “upswing,” or swing for the fences, even if it means striking out, rather than taking a natural approach. The average MLB batting average, which was 0.270 in 2000, has continued to decline, dropping to 0.243 last year.
Araez went against the grain. Smaller than the average major leaguer at 1.78 meters tall and 79 kilograms, he opted for accuracy, aiming low and focusing on driving the ball into the ground. He doesn’t raise his hands high in his batting preparation, and there’s very little takeback (pulling the bat back to gather power).
As a result, his ability to generate hard contact ranks near the bottom of MLB. Of his 87 hits this year, he has one home run. One triple. His only other hit came on April 12 against the Philadelphia Phillies, a cycling hit.
Instead, he doesn’t swing at many pitches. This year, Arajuez has a 4.6% strikeout rate, the lowest in MLB. When he swings at pitches inside the strike zone, he’s made contact 94.6% of the time. It doesn’t matter what type of pitcher he’s facing (righties batting .410, lefties batting .382), or at home (0.413) or on the road (0.389). Even in unfavorable pitch counts, he doesn’t just put the bat on the ball, he sends it to the middle of the plate to increase his chances of a hit.
Major League lefties also battle defensive shifts. But not Araúez. He has the ability to drive low and outside pitches to third base. His batted ball distribution is evenly spread across the field. He doesn’t have a high percentage of long balls, so opposing teams don’t have to change their defense.
As Song Jae-woo explains, “Araez is a ‘pure hitter’ – a hitter with great power. His ability to hit is so good. In the past, there were Wade Boggs, Tony Gwynn, and others, but this lineage of hitters has been broken since Ichiro. When I won the batting title last year, I felt like my eyes were opened. He focused on what he was good at and got better.”
There’s a saying in MLB that the home run king drives a Cadillac and the RBI king drives a Ford. The implication is that cross-hitters are less likely to achieve wealth and fame. However, at their best, “ticker” hitters can become stars. Araúez, who moved to Miami this year, won a salary adjustment and signed for $6.1 million. If he can achieve a ‘4 percent batting average’, he could easily win the league MVP 메이저사이트.
“It’s still early, but hitting 4-for-4 right now is great,” Song said. We don’t know if he can hit four, but he is the most sophisticated hitter at the moment.” “It is true that such players lose in MVP voting. But it’s a vote, and it’s all about the atmosphere. With the recent rule changes, MLB is trying to showcase different aspects of baseball instead of just home runs. That’s why they’re trying to make Arajuez more popular. The Miami team is doing well, so I think they have a good shot at it.”