Luis Arraez trade has given Padres the one thing they absolutely needed most

San Diego Padres v Cincinnati Reds
San Diego Padres v Cincinnati Reds / Dylan Buell/GettyImages

Since being traded to San Diego three weeks ago, infielder Luis Arraez has been on a tear. In 21 games with the Padres, Arraez has hit .397/.427/.487 with a homer and three steals.

That consistent presence atop the lineup each night is huge boost for the Padres offense, which is now eighth in runs scored, fourth in batting average, and sixth in OBP.

Arraez has been hitting leadoff most nights and giving Padres hitters plenty of opportunities to drive in runs, and Fernando Tatis Jr. and Jurickson Profar have taken advantage.

So far, the trade looks like a win for AJ Preller. The Padres are 12-10 in the month of May and are firmly in the NL Wild Card race. Plus, the team should be able to weather the storm of losing Xander Bogaerts to a shoulder fracture thanks to Arraez's versatility and offensive contributions.

When you add in the fact that Arraez isn't a free agent until after the 2025 season and that the Padres only had to give up a couple guys barely inside their top-30 prospects list, it's looking like another smart move from Preller.

Luis Arraez is giving the Padres the consistency they needed atop the lineup

Many see Arraez as a one-tool player but he's a successful major leaguer because the hit tool is exceptional. He's one of the best contact hitters in modern history and has elite plate discipline to match.

Arraez's 6.1% strikeout rate is tops in the league and he's over three percentage points better than the next closest guy on the list. Statcast has him in the 100th percentile in terms of avoiding whiffs and strikeouts. And despite the fact that he runs low walk rates because he puts the ball in play so much, he has excellent control of the strike zone.

Per Statcast, his 21.8% hard-hit rate is in the bottom second percentile, but he doesn't need to hit the ball hard to be successful. His .335 batting average is top five in the league and his 12 doubles are well above average.

The Padres are a better team with Arraez in the leadoff spot every night. With a little bit of luck, he'll help lead this team on another deep playoff run this October.