Arraez on ASG: 'I think I need to be there'

June 23rd, 2022

Read our story on the balloting format, which includes two phases of fan voting to determine the All-Star starters.

MINNEAPOLIS -- Luis Arraez grinned when asked if he heard the "M-V-P" chants raining down from the Target Field bleachers following his go-ahead, three-run blast on Tuesday against the Guardians. He got goosebumps, he said.

He's also hoping that sort of energy will buoy him in the ongoing voting for the All-Star Game, coming up on July 19 at Dodger Stadium, as he eyes his first career spot in the Midsummer Classic.

"I want to be there," Arraez said. "I want to go there. But there's a lot of people voting, and I don't know if they want to vote for me. I hope they do, because I think I've had a really good season. I think I need to be there."

As of the first voting update released by Major League Baseball on Tuesday, Arraez ranked fourth among first basemen, behind Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (Blue Jays), Ty France (Mariners) and Anthony Rizzo (Yankees). The top two vote-getters in the first round, which ends on June 30, will move to the final round of fan voting, which will determine each league's starters.

Arraez feels like he has put forth a deserving season. He's the MLB leader in both batting average (.362) and on-base percentage (.442), getting on base at such a breakneck pace that he's overcome his relative lack of power to lead the Twins in WAR, per Baseball-Reference, with his 2.5 bWAR edging Byron Buxton's 2.3 bWAR.

It doesn't help Arraez that his positional versatility landed him at first base for much of the first half, where he faces particularly stiff competition considering the caliber of the three players ahead of him. Still, Baseball-Reference ranks Arraez second in WAR among primary first basemen in the AL behind only France (3.1 bWAR), and 14th overall among all AL hitters.

"Luis is doing great things night in and night out," manager Rocco Baldelli said. "We get used to seeing that. You don't take it for granted, but you do get used to seeing it, because you know he's very capable of it. He's very capable of a lot of things."

He has continued to evolve his game, with his strengthened body and better use of his lower half on certain swings unlocking power that hadn't previously shown up as often. He has already matched his career-best with four homers, including three in June.

He's hoping people have noticed -- enough to send him to Los Angeles.

"It's a goal for everybody," Arraez said. "Everybody wants to be an All-Star. I want to be there, 100 percent. If not, I need to continue playing hard, working hard every day. I'll be excited to be in L.A."