Arcia, Vargas and Rebellion
Image courtesy of Jesse Johnson, USA Today SportsOwing to his intimidating presence in the batter's box, Vargas has often been compared to David Ortiz. As we all know, Ortiz became a star quickly after leaving Minnesota, and later went on to criticize his former organization for pressing him to alter his hitting approach.
If Arcia's words made the Twins cringe, they've shown no signs of it. The 23-year-old outfielder has lived by that mantra at the plate all year long, and they've stuck with him. It's paying off.
Sure, Ron Gardenhire might lament the ferocious swinging at times, but Arcia was in the starting lineup on Opening Day and -- despite some truly ugly slumps -- he's mostly remained there when healthy. Because while Gardy might justifiably admonish him for swinging "as hard as he possibly can, trying to hit the ball 8,000 miles," you can't argue with the results when he makes contact.
Only three qualified hitters in the majors have struck out at a higher rate than Arcia's 30.6 percent. But when NOT striking out, he's hitting .342 and slugging .640. In recent weeks, the whiffs haven't subsided but the authoritative contact has increased; six of his 11 homers have come in the last month, even as he's struck out in one of every three plate appearances.
Vargas is experiencing success with a similar style, as his intense cuts have produced a lot of strikeouts (19, against only three walks), but they've also produced some big offensive numbers, including a .317 average with three homers and 15 RBI in 15 games.
And of course, the very model for this prototype is Miguel Sano, who last year in the minors fanned 142 times while also launching 35 homers.
The Twins are hoping that these three hitters can anchor the middle of their lineup for many years to come, so if the team seems a little more passive than you'd expect in response to Arcia's open rebellion against toning down the swing in favor of more contact, perhaps it's just because they're readying themselves for what's to come.
Hopefully by now they know better than to try and fundamentally change a promising young power hitter's ways.