Arteaga made his MLB debut for the Royals tonight against the Minnesota Twins. Arteaga is originally from Venezuela signing with the Royals as a 16-year-old for $1 million. It took him 9 years and an injury to Adalberto Mondesi, but Arteaga can finally tell his daughter that he is a big leaguer.
Arteaga was a defensive specialist. I remember watching him when he was with Northwest Arkansas in 2016 and thinking this is a big league defender but can he hit enough? His bat started to improve as he matured and eventually he was turning into a viable option at the plate. It took until he got to Omaha as a 24-year-old to really start figuring things out.
In the top of the first inning, Arteaga took the field as the Royals shortstop. Although he did not get a ball hit to him in the first inning, he did get his first major league at bat in the seven hole. The first pitch he saw in the majors was a cutter from Jake Odorizzi and came in at 87 mph. Arteaga tried to ambush it and fouled it off. Arteaga swung at the next pitch, an 86 mph cutter, and ended up flying out to right fielder Jake Cave.
In the top of the second with no outs and a runner on first, Luis Arraez hit a ground ball to third baseman Cheslor Cuthbert who threw to second for the force out. CJ Cron will forever be the first out that Arteaga recorded.
Arteaga’s next at bat came in the bottom of the fourth inning with Lucas Duda on first base and no outs. Arteaga recorded his first sacrifice bunting Duda successfully to second base. It looked like he was actually trying to push a bunt to second base for a hit, but it went as a SAC.
In the bottom of the sixth, Arteaga faced Kohl Stewart and reached on a fielding error by Twins third baseman Willians Astudillo. The pitch was a cutter or slider and the count was 1-1.
Arteaga did prove he belonged defensively in the top of the seventh when Astudillo hit a sharp grounder toward the 5/6 hole. Arteaga slide foot first fielding the ball on the backhand, hopped up, and threw the runner out at first by plenty. Perhaps it was reminiscent to another shortstop who wore number 2 on his back?
Arteaga was left standing on deck when the final out of the eighth inning was recorded. The Royals had the lead so the game ended without Arteaga getting another at bat. He officially went 0-2 with a SAC. With Mondesi on the IL for 10 days, Arteaga should get a few more chances to prove he belongs in the bigs and can help a team.
Photo Credits: Alexander Mendoza – Prensa LVBP