Minnesota Twins’ Luis Arraez tops Aaron Judge as AL batting champion
Luis Arraez came out on top for the AL batting title, hitting a third-inning double after walking twice to complete the season at .316, and the Minnesota Twins moved to a 10-1 triumph over the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday.
Arraez was essentially guaranteed of topping the Yankees’ Aaron Judge for the batting crown when the day started. He eliminated any uncertainty by walking in his first two plate appearances and afterward hit a drive that scarcely cleared the glove of right fielder Gavin Sheets before he was lifted for a pinch-runner.
“It’s amazing,” Arraez said. “This was one of my goals. I’m living a dream right now. This is amazing for me because I worked hard for this.”
Judge, who sat out the Yankees’ season finale, batted .311 with an AL-record 62 homers and a league-leading 131 RBIs.
“I couldn’t sleep last night, just thinking and thinking about it,” Arraez said.
Arraez, 25, became the fifth Twin to come out on top for a batting championship, joining Rod Carew (seven), Tony Oliva and Joe Mauer (three apiece) and Kirby Puckett (one). His .316 average is the lowest for an AL batting champion since Boston’s Carl Yastrzemski at .301 in 1968.
“I think he achieved what he was hoping to do,” Minnesota manager Rocco Baldelli said. “And he’s not a guy who normally thinks about things on a personal level like that. He’s a team player and here to win and compete.”
Arraez got a hug at the top of the dugout steps from Carlos Correa, who gave him a Louis Vuitton roller bag Wednesday in acknowledgment of his accomplishment.
“[Correa] is amazing,” Arraez said. “He sets an example for us. He’s a leader, and I love that guy a lot.”
Arraez batted .361 (13-for-36) during a nine-game hitting streak to end the season.
“It wasn’t easy,” Arraez said. “But my mind is strong.”
Gary Sanchez and Jermaine Palacios homered during a six-run first inning for Minnesota, which snapped a four-game skid. The Twins completed at 78-84, a six-game improvement more than 2021.
The White Sox (81-81), last year’s AL Central champions, had their three-game series of wins snapped and completed 12 games more regrettable than their 2021 record.