Gabriel Arias did exactly what was asked of him in 2022. He wasn’t one of the rookies that caught fire and got a bunch of playing time, but when the Guardians needed him to fill in a few spots here and there, he did it. And that’s about all there was to his season.
Still only 22 years old (he’ll be 23 when next season rolls around), Arias showed he could play anywhere defensively and had speed around the bases but wasn’t given nearly enough time to show if he’s going to make it in the majors yet or not. He finished with nine hits, one double, one triple, and one home run in 57 plate appearances.
Arias’ debut came as part of a doubleheader in April, and he wasn’t seen in the majors again until July, thanks to a fractured hand he suffered in Triple-A that required midseason surgery to fix. Even then, he only played in a handful of games upon his return, bouncing between Cleveland and Columbus as needed. His defensive versatility was put to the test in his limited time, as he played games at third base, second base, shortstop, and first base.
It’s that versatility that earned Arias a spot on the Guardians’ postseason roster, and he rewarded the Guards with a pair of hits in Game 3 of the ALDS against the Yankees.
Unfortunately, after a strong Triple-A showing in 2021, Arias struggled even with the Columbus Clippers this season. He slashed .240/.310/.406 with 13 home runs (89 wRC+) in 77 games. But, again, if consistency and routines have any importance on how well he performs, he got none of it between the sporadic promotions and injuries.
Of course, 57 plate appearances is far too small a sample size to draw conclusions, but one thing that started to show as he gained at-bats was his ability to law off down-and-away pitches. In particular, Arias seemed to be seeing four-seam fastballs really well early on — he only swung and missed at five of the 66 he saw. On the other end, though, he was getting eaten up down and inside, with sliders being a particular nuisance to him.
His overall chase rate, if he had enough at-bats to qualify, was right up there with some of the best in baseball. He swung at pitches outside of the zone 26.8% of the time, would tie him with Aaron Judge for 26th overall if he maintains it. He was also one of the worst at making contact on those pitches he chased, so make of it what you will. Small sample sizes are weird.
Overall, it probably wasn’t the year Arias wanted. But he showed up, got a couple of hits in the postseason, and proved to the Guardians he was willing to play when and where they needed him. As a 22-year-old here for a “cup of coffee” kind of season, that’s probably exactly what they wanted to see.
Gabriel Arias’ 2022 Stats
We’re reviewing (almost) all the Guardians players from 2022 now through November, starting with the top-10 MVPs as voted on by eight Covering the Corner staff members. Players were awarded points based on their one through 10 individual rankings and were ranked as such. You can find all the Year in Review posts here.