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Teammates, Managers Praise Hitting Wizard as the Best Pure Hitter

As the batting titles would suggest, the San Diego Padres knew exactly what they did when they acquired Luis Arráez in a trade three weeks ago. Arráez has developed into the game’s best pure contact hitter, who’s walked more often than he’s struck out over the course of his career. He’s been a sparkplug for the Padres offense since his arrival, hitting .391 in 20 games with the Padres. Teammates, managers and baseball insiders are raving about his impact on the game.

“It’s incredible what he has done for us,” Padres third baseman Manny Machado said. “We all knew how good he was, winning two battle titles, but he’s even better. It’s just so impressive what he’s doing. Every single time.”

Luis Arráez is Leaving a Lasting Impression on the Padres

The New York Yankees toiled with the Padres in the first two games of their weekend series. After Sunday’s series finale, Arráez produced two more hits and an RBI. He now has 23 multi-hit games this season while striking out a league-low 14 times.

“I love the intensity he brings with his at-bats,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “Obviously, just about as good as it gets from the bat to ball standpoint. But I just love the intensity with how he plays the game.”

There’s even some comparisons of Arráez to Padres legend Tony Gwynn. In fact, Arráez became the first player to produce four hits in his debut, showing a slight similarity to the eight-time batting champion. Through his 570 career games, both players have near identical numbers.

Comparing Stats to Gwynn and Arráez

Gwynn: .326/.378/.427/25 home runs

Arráez: .324/.377/.423/24 home runs

Even after 570 career games, the numbers are still similar. Gwynn was a lifetime .338 hitter whereas Arráez is hitting .327 in his career, almost 90 points above the league average of .240. If Arráez can keep this up, he could become the first player to win three consecutive batting titles with three different teams.

“But I love to hit,” Arráez told Bob Nightengale of USA Today. “Oh, and I hate striking out.”

Arráez has 179 strikeouts in 2,425 plate appearances.

“The guy is such a spark for us, he’s the closest thing we’ve ever seen to Tony Gywnn,” Padres right fielder Fernando Tatis Jr. said.

Arráez is the Heart of the Action

Arráez has seen plenty of time in the DH role, especially with the Padres, who are using him for that role more than has played the field. He wants to be the heart of the action and has a chance to do so following Xander Bogaerts injury with a broken shoulder.

“I don’t like DH,” he said. “I fall asleep when I’m DHing. I need to move around. I want to play defense. Sometimes, I don’t want to play first, but I know they need me there. I love second base, everyone knows that.”

“But most of all, I love to hit.”

The Padres rank first in the league with 483 hits. That follows with a .255 batting average that’s tied for fourth in the majors with the Milwaukee Brewers. Their .322 on-base percentage sits sixth while their .389 slugging percentage is 13th.

Main Photo: © David Frerker-USA TODAY Sports


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