Maybe this isn’t a hot start for Luis Arraez. Maybe it’s just who he is.
The 26-year-old is back at .400 after going 5-for-5 against the Toronto Blue Jays on Monday night. Arraez became just the second player in Marlins history to record five four-hit games in a season, after Hanley Ramirez did it in 2007. Per the Marlins, Arraez is also the fourth player to record five or more hits in a game at least three times in a calendar month in the modern era, joining George Sisler, Ty Cobb, and Dave Winfield.
“Everything he does is infectious,” Marlins manager Skip Schumaker said after Miami’s 11-0 win over the Blue Jays on Monday. “His process is infectious. The way he gameplans is infectious. His personality in that clubhouse, he’s always upbeat. I mean, I’d be upbeat too if I was 5-for-5 every day.”
We’ve seen players come close to eclipsing .400 since Boston Red Sox Hall of Famer Ted Williams hit .406 in 1941. In 1999, Colorado Rockies outfielder Larry Walker held a .435 batting average as late as May 21 before going on a 6-for-34 skid that dropped his average to .373. Walker’s average would continue to go up and down, but it didn’t go back above .400 for the rest of the year. He ended the season hitting .379.
The thing with Arraez is—and knock on wood a few times after reading this—he appears to be almost slump-proof.
Arraez had already been above the .400 mark as recently as June 10. But after going hitless in 12 at-bats against the Seattle Mariners, it dipped down to .378. He proceeded to rack up five hits in the series opener against the Washington Nationals two days later.
“I mean, I’m human,” Arraez said after the game Monday. “(Seattle) throws really hard. They threw a lot of fastballs to me. I don’t know why I didn’t get hits. But I’m human. So I changed my mind and I said, ‘Okay, I’ll go do something good.’ Then the first day in Washington I got my 5-for-5, and now I’m back.”
Arraez’s five-hit Monday night helped set the tone for starting pitcher Bryan Hoeing’s night as well. Taking Edward Cabrera’s spot in the rotation after Cabrera went on the 15-day IL with right shoulder impingement, Hoeing pitched four scoreless innings. Although he wound up not needing all 11 runs of support, Arraez was one of many Marlins hitters that evening that gave Hoeing a big cushion.
“It’s unconscious,” Hoeing said. “You can’t make this stuff up. I was talking to some of my buddies and I was saying that he’s doing stuff in the big leagues that people would do in little league baseball. Hitting .400, you don’t see that here. Honestly it’s just a joy to be a part of and see that in person every single night.”
With Arraez’s five-hit performance on Monday, he is outpacing Ichiro Suzuki’s record-breaking 262-hit season in 2004. Suzuki had 97 hits through 67 games, while Arraez now has 102.
Arraez’s accomplishments are being recognized around the league.
“I’ve never quite seen anyone do what Arraez is doing right now,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said after Monday’s game. “(He’s hitting) balls in the zone, out of the zone… He’s hitting.400 for a reason.”
Featured photo by Danis Sosa/Fish On First