Major League Baseball (MLB) is a hot topic right now with this player. Miami Marlins left-handed hitter Luis Araez.
The 26-year-old is from Venezuela. Venezuela is almost the only country in South America where baseball is more popular than soccer.먹튀검증
Araez joined the Minnesota Twins in 2013 as an international amateur free agent. Since 2019 he has been playing in the big leagues and garnering attention for his elaborate hitting. He recorded a batting average of 0.334 in his debut season, and in the 2022 season, he won the honor of the American League (AL) batting king, beating home run king Aaron Judge (batting average of 0.311) with a batting average of 0.316 and 49 RBIs.
He also became the protagonist of the AL utility Silver Slugger, which was newly established by pushing out Shohei Otani (Japan). Utility refers to a player who can take on two or more positions, and Araez served as first baseman, second baseman, third baseman, and designated hitter last season.
Araez will change his uniform to the Marlins through a trade ahead of this season. And he’s been sporting a crazy hitting feel this year. It is also the reason I wrote this article.
Araez’s batting average as of the 14th day of this season is 0.382. In modern baseball, 40% leads to the ‘territory of God’, which is difficult to reach. Having exceeded 40% two days ago, he has been sluggish with 1 hit in 14 at-bats in the last three games, and has fallen to the 30% level again. But he’s a grade that can go back to 400 at any time.
As mentioned earlier, Araez is considered one of the best in the league in the sophistication of hitting, hitting 333 from his debut season.
He struck out 5.3% of all at-bats this season, the lowest of any hitter in the league. The rate of misses is also 7.4%, ranking first from the bottom. In a word, the ability to hit the ball with the bat is excellent.
If he ranks first in batting average this season, he will become the National League (NL) batting champion this year, following last year’s AL. DJ LeMayhew (New York Yankees) was the only player to win the batting title in both leagues, but he was not two years in a row.
LeMayhew ranked first in the NL batting average (0.348) as a member of the Colorado Rockies in 2016, and during the shortened season due to Corona in 2020, he wore a Yankees uniform and won the AL batting title (0.364).
When it comes to the sophistication of hitting, he ranks second, and at 178cm·79kg, he has a slender physique for a major leaguer. He’s far from a big shot, hitting just 15 home runs in five seasons. He has only hit one home run this season.
He hit 31 doubles last season and has 15 this year. His slugging percentage of 0.466 ranks 13th in the OPS (on-base percentage + slugging percentage) ranking (0.897).
In April, against the Philadelphia Phillies, Araez achieved the first “Cycling Hit” in team history (hit for the cycle, hitting singles, doubles, triples, and home runs in one game). His only home run all season came in that game.
MLB fans’ interest is heating up as to whether Araez will continue as the best hitter in the league, or whether he will become a mid-to-long-distance hitter equipped with slugging power.
The legendary last 40% hitter
Even if Araez is not good at hitting balls that go over the fence, if he achieves 40% this season, he will forever remain in MLB history.
But it looks like it won’t be an easy journey. If you look at history, most of the challenges of those who were batting .400 at this point ended in failure.
According to MLB.com, players with batting averages in the 40% range after 61 games played since 1941 were Ted Williams (0.403) in 1941, Stan Musial (0.408) and Williams (0.407) in 1948, and Paul O’Neill (0.411) in 1994. , Larry Walker (0.416) in 1997, Tony Gwynn (0.405), and Chipper Jones (0.418) in 2008.
Of these, only Ted Williams in 1941 finished the season with a .400. In other words, if Araez exceeds 40%, a record will be created for the first time in 82 years.
Williams, who played for the Boston Red Sox, hit a come-from-behind three-run homer with two outs in the bottom of the 9th inning when he was trailing 4-5 in the All-Star Game that year, leading the American League to a 7-5 victory. He also hit 37 home runs.
His 40% achievement dramatically changed on the final day of the 1941 season.
Ahead of the double header, the final game of the season, Williams’ batting average was 0.39955. It was a batting average that was recognized as 40% after rounding up. In a situation where .400 glory comes automatically if he doesn’t play in the last two games, the coach has removed Williams from the lineup out of consideration.
Then Williams went to the manager and said, “He doesn’t want to keep the .400 by doing that,” and he went to the game.
And Williams finished the season with a legendary batting average of .406, going 6-for-8 over his last two games.
That was a really cool ending. Unfortunately, the MVP of the season went to rival Joe DiMaggio (New York Yankees), who had a 56-game hitting streak, but Williams’ 1941 season went down in MLB history as an immortal record-breaking time.
Williams is an indispensable hitter when discussing MLB. In 19 seasons with the Red Sox alone, he passed 300 in all but 1959 (0.254). It is a shining achievement that he achieved after overcoming two big gaps.
Was it a hiatus due to an injury? no. Surprisingly, it was a vacuum due to participation in the war.
Williams suddenly leaves the ground with high batting averages of 0.406 in the 1941 season and 0.356 in the 1942 season. He was in order to enlist in the US Army during World War II.
Enlisting in the U.S. Navy Reserve in 1942, he applied for aviation cadet training and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1944. While serving as a flight drill instructor, he waited for deployment at Pearl Harbor at the end of the war and returned to the baseball field as World War II came to an end. At the peak of his playing career, in his mid-twenties, he missed three full seasons, holding the steering wheel of a fighter jet rather than a bat.
Williams’ military career did not end there. Returning to the field in 1946 and hitting hard for six seasons, he was called up again in 1952.
It was the Korean War. On April 30 of that year, the Red Sox club held an event called ‘Ted Williams Day’ for Williams leaving for the battlefield, and he hit his only home run of the season and his 324th career home run. At that time, fans were really disappointed because there was no guarantee that Williams would return to the field again.
During the Korean War, Williams crossed the line of fire, flying a fighter plane and bombing Pyongyang. He was hit by enemy anti-aircraft fire and barely attempted a landing at Suwon Air Base.
He flew 37 combat missions as a Marine Corps fighter pilot in 1952-53. Williams, who returned to the United States after successfully completing the mobilization call for more than a year, immediately returned to the team.
In the 1953 season, he played the remaining 37 games and recorded a monstrous record of batting average of 0.407 (falling short of the required number of hits), 13 homers and 34 RBIs. I’m more surprised by this than Williams batting .400.
From our point of view, as a party to the Korean War, Williams is a legend to remember.
Even in the 1957 season, when he was a 39-year-old veteran, Williams showed off his strength with a batting average of 0.388, 38 homers and 87 RBIs. In 1960, his final season at the age of 42, his batting average was 0.316. He also hit 29 home runs. He really showed the dignity of a veteran.
Williams’ career average is .344 with 2654 hits, 521 home runs and 1839 RBIs.
His record is even greater because he was unable to play for nearly five seasons due to his participation in the war. Although he never made it to the top of the World Series, he will forever remain in the memory of fans as a brave last-40 hitter.
‘Mr. Padre’, who was disappointed with the shortened season
Tony Gwynn comes to mind when you think of the closest hitter since Ted Williams.
Gwynne, who passed away from cancer in 2014, is one of the most memorable hitters in MLB history. His career batting average is 0.338. He was the National League batting champion eight times. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2007 with a high 97.6% of the vote, with 3141 hits and 1138 RBI.
From the 1990 season until his retirement, Gwynne boasted such a sophisticated hitting that he never had more than 20 strikeouts in a season. He reached 3,000 hits in the fewest games (2284) of any hitter born after 1900.
He played only for the San Diego Padres from 1982 to 2001 and is called ‘Mr. Padre’. There is a statue of Gwynn in front of Petco Park, the home stadium. The address of Petco Park was also named ’19 Tony Gwynn Drive’.
The season Gwynn came closest to hitting the .400 was in 1994. At the time of August 11, Gwynn had brought his batting average up to 0.394.
However, the league was suspended due to a players union strike.
In the end, the 1994 MLB season ended with a shortened season. For Gwynn, who boasted the highest hitting feeling by hitting 0.450 in the last month of the season, it was a truly golden opportunity. Gwynn even expressed confidence, saying, “If the season had ended normally, he would have hit 40%.”
The highest batting average at the point of playing the aforementioned 61 games was Chipper Jones in 2008 (0.418). Jones’ final grade that year was 0.364. Maintaining that 40% is really difficult.
Excluding Gwynn’s .394, the highest batting average since Williams was George Brett in 1980.
His batting average, which was only 0.301 until May, exploded, such as hitting the second half of the quarter in June and July, and raised his batting average to 0.403 by August. However, he lingered at 0.324 in September and eventually finished the season with 0.390.
Brett is the superstar representing the Kansas City Royals. From 1973 to 1993 he only played for the Royals, winning the batting title three times.
He was the leading hitter in 1976, 1980, and 1990, and became the batting champion in the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s. He came out on top in 1985 and has a World Series championship ring.
0 in Japan, 1 in Korea
Ichiro Suzuki, synonymous with alternating hitters, had a season-high batting average of 0.372 in 2004 with the Seattle Mariners. Ichiro’s MLB career batting average is 0.311.
He once posted high batting averages of 0.385 in the 1994 season and 0.387 in the 2000 season during the Japanese professional baseball NPB days.
For reference, in Japan NPB, which was launched in 1936 and boasts a history of more than 80 years, there has never been a .400 hitter. 0.389, set by Hanshin Tigers’ Randy Barth in 1986, remains the record.
The next was Lee Jong-beom (Haetae) in 1994. He hit .393, only four days he passed the 40% mark during the actual season. Samsung’s batting average was 0.387 in 1987, when Hyo-jo Jang of Samsung became the batting champion for the fourth time in his career and for the third consecutive year.
In 2010, Lotte Lee Dae-ho built a golden tower of 7 crowns in the batting category, and the batting average at the time was 0.364. In 2012, Kim Tae-gyun (Hanwha) went down to 30% in mid-June, then rose again and struggled to maintain 40% until August 3rd, but eventually finished the season with 0.363.
The most recent record to cross 38 was 0.381, posted in 2015 by Eric Thames (NC). Ma Hae-young (Lotte)’s 0.372 in 1999 and Choi Hyeong-woo (Samsung)’s 0.376 in 2016 are also remembered as shining seasons.
Evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould likened the disappearance of 40% hitters to the evolution of living things in his book ‘Full House’.
He also argued, “As one species evolves, the gap within the species narrows,” and “as baseball developed, the standard deviation among players became smaller, and as a result, there are no .400 hitters who significantly exceed the league average.”
That’s why Araez’s performance is all the more nice to see. Will he be able to re-enter the .400 batting average?
If he’s .400 by the end of the season, he’ll be watching the Miami Marlins every day to keep track of their historic journey.