Jun 23, 2023; Miami, Florida, USA; Miami Marlins second baseman Luis Arraez (3) celebrates hitting a single against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the fifth inning at loanDepot Park. Mandatory Credit: Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports

Last year’s American League batting champ Luis Arraez is having another extraordinary season. However, in the opinion of longtime baseball scribe Tom Verducci, it’s not getting nearly enough coverage.

Nicknamed “La Regadera,” which is Spanish for “sprinkler” (alluding to his ability to spray balls all over the field), the Miami Marlins second baseman is seeking to become the first player to hit .400 for a full season since Ted Williams in 1941. Yet Arraez’s pursuit of history has largely gone unnoticed by many in the media, treated as an afterthought in a sport that increasingly prioritizes power and speed over skill and precision.

“On the difficulty scale in today’s game, it is harder than hitting 61 home runs,” said Verducci in his Monday column for Sports Illustrated, arguing.400 would be a more impressive feat than the milestone accomplished by Aaron Judge last year, breaking Roger Maris’ longstanding AL home run record with 62 round-trippers. “It’s just not as highlight-friendly to see the Marlins second baseman carving out his hits with an average exit velocity of 91.3 mph as it was to see Aaron Judge smashing home runs at an average speed of 109.0 mph last year.”

Relying largely on singles (just 19 of his 111 hits this year have gone for extra bases), Arraez won’t wow you with his power, though his contact rate has been otherworldly, striking out in a league-low 4.9 percent of his plate appearances.

A 5’10” slap hitter playing for a perennial underachiever that’s reached the playoffs just three times in its 30-year history (though the Marlins enter Monday a surprising 11 games over .500), it’s easy to see why someone like Arraez would fall under the radar. But that’s no reason to bury one of the most unlikely rises in recent memory, propelling the 26-year-old Venezuelan to overnight stardom.

“The average MLB hitter bats .151 on pitches out of the strike zone. Arraez hits .367 on pitches out of the zone. That is flat-out ridiculous,” wrote Verducci. “He is about as reliable as it gets.”

Perhaps the narrative will change come September—assuming he’s still within striking range of .400—though for now, the best hitter on Earth remains more or less anonymous, speaking to baseball’s fading relevance, viewed by mainstream media as too “niche” to warrant national attention.

[Sports Illustrated]

About Jesse Pantuosco

Jesse Pantuosco joined Awful Announcing as a contributing writer in May 2023. He’s also written for Audacy and NBC Sports. A graduate of Syracuse’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications with a master’s degree in creative writing from Fairfield University, Pantuosco has won three Fantasy Sports Writers Association Awards. He lives in West Hartford, Connecticut and never misses a Red Sox, Celtics or Patriots game.