He’s in! Arraez headed to Seattle as ASG starter

June 30th, 2023

BOSTON -- Marlins manager Skip Schumaker held a team meeting prior to Thursday night’s series sweep of the Red Sox reminding his players of what they needed to do on July 11: Watch start at second base for the National League All-Star team in the Midsummer Classic.

Arraez received 53% of the votes during Phase 2 of the 2023 Scotts MLB All-Star Ballot to beat out Atlanta's Ozzie Albies (47%). Schumaker’s announcement, then Arraez’s own ensuing words of gratitude, nearly moved Miami’s infielder to tears inside the visiting clubhouse at Fenway Park.

“It means a lot because everybody knows I work hard every day, especially [since] this is my first start in the All-Star Game now,” Arraez said following Thursday’s 2-0 win. “I want to say thanks to the fans for supporting me and voting for me. I want to say thank you God for this.”

The 26-year-old Venezuelan, who made the American League All-Star team in 2022 as a reserve infielder while playing for the Twins, is the second straight Marlin to win the fan vote at second base, following teammate Jazz Chisholm Jr. Arraez is just the seventh player in Marlins history to secure a spot on the team via fan election, joining Gary Sheffield (1993), Hanley Ramirez (‘08-10), Dee Strange-Gordon (‘15), Giancarlo Stanton (‘15), Marcell Ozuna (‘16-17) and Chisholm (‘22).

Because injuries kept Chisholm out of last year's Midsummer Classic, and Strange-Gordon out of the '15 game, Arraez could become the first Marlins infielder to start the exhibition since Hanley Ramirez in '10.

Acquired from Minnesota on Jan. 20 for right-hander Pablo López as well as prospects Byron Chourio and Jose Salas, Arraez paces the Majors in average (.392), on-base percentage (.444) and hits (114). He also leads MLB in multihit games (33) and strikeout percentage (.050 K/PA).

“You guys see us in the clubhouse, me and Louie, we're just like twin brothers,” Chisholm said. “We call each other twin in Spanish. His energy is like, almost unmatched. He's out there, he brings the energy every day, he comes in the same way -- no matter if he gets the four hits or not -- he's going to give you all his energy, and he's going to pay all the attention on just trying to win and focus. He's a great guy to bring in, especially after getting rid of another guy like Pablo, who's a great human being, and another guy just like that. But he's the perfect fit.”

Eighty-two games into the season, the underdog Marlins are tied with the D-backs for the NL's second-best record (48-34). They are 14 games over .500 for the first time since 2003, when the franchise captured its second World Series title. Arraez is a big reason for this success.

Miami held a postgame champagne toast for Arraez, who is vying to become the first person in AL/NL history to win the batting title in each league in consecutive seasons. He has exceeded even his preseason expectations with his new club.

Some of Arraez’s teammates might be joining him in Seattle for All-Star festivities. MLB will announce the reserve position players and pitchers for both teams at 5:30 p.m. ET on Sunday on ESPN. Those are determined via “Player Ballot” choices and selections made by the Commissioner’s Office.

"I don't think there's anyone more deserving -- at least on our team -- to start and represent our ballclub, and I think he represents what we're all about," Schumaker said. "The type of player he is, he plays the game the right way, it's not just the production but all the work he puts in. A winning type of player, couldn't be more happy for him and his family, and I know that guys were really excited about it."