Venezuelan native Luis Arráez is on his way to bonafide superstardom with the Miami Marlins.
The MLB season is very near its halfway point, and Arráez is doing what no player has done since Ted Williams in 1941, which is 82 years ago. Arráez is aiming for a batting average of .400 throughout the season.
Batting average is a statistic largely eschewed by the analytical community. Overall on-base percentage (drawing walks) and hitting for power are what is most valued. Basically, players aren’t hitting for high batting averages. One could count on their hand the number of players in the majors who hit .300 in a season, much less .400. And Arráez has consistently hovered at .400 or near it (he’s currently at .399 as of this writing) so far during the entire 2023 season.
In the days of “home run or bust” offense, his nickname is seriously “La Regadera,” which means “the sprinkler” for his ability to pepper his hits all over the diamond. And in an era of pulling the ball and lifting your swing, Arráez slaps the ball for singles and hits it the other way without necessarily always hitting the ball that hard.
When asked about his rare contact-heavy approach, he was candid. “Because I hate strikeouts,” Arráez said. “I hate strikeouts, and I want to get on base a lot of times.”
Arráez, who played for his native Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic back in March, was very proud to represent his home country, as he told the Miami Herald. “I’m dreaming,” said Arráez. “Right now, I’m dreaming. I’ve been pinching myself. Am I here? Am I here? Yes. I’m enjoying this a lot.”
And now Luis Arráez is trying to cement his place in the history books.