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Oswaldo Arcia And Crushing In August

Since the beginning of August, Minnesota Twins outfielder Oswaldo Arcia has been one of the crushiest crushers who ever crushed.

Within the small sample universe, Arcia has been murdering baseballs all over the field. Baseballs. Murdered. Dead. In that time, Arcia has jacked six home runs -- the second most in the American League, behind only Houston’s Chris Carter, who has suddenly become Casey from Mudville (pre-poem) since the beginning of July. But it is not just wind-aided fly balls that have drifted beyond the outfield wall that has propelled Arcia’s August. According to ESPN/trumedia his hard-hit average is .241, the ninth-best in the league over the last 21 days. He is crushing it to the core.
Oh, and one of those home runs? Yeah, that hit Target Field’s flag pole just like former Twins bruiser Jim Thome.

It has been his ability to drive the ball with total disregard for human life that has made his plate appearances “must see” events, as far as “must see” events go this season, anyway. At the same time, it has been his inability to make contact with the ball for the bulk of the season that has come at a heavy price to his overall numbers. While he has deposited a ball in the seats in every 20 at-bats, he’s whiffed once in just under every three at-bats.

Arcia’s strength has been prevalent throughout his professional career. In the minors he displayed a more balanced approached at the plate with less of a leg-lift stride that allowed him to use all fields. Of course, Arcia has eschewed this style for his prefered all-or-nothing pull approach at the major league level that has paid off well as of late.

Take a look at his follow through earlier this season:

Attached Image: Arcia_Opens Up.png


His front side opens far too much -- particularly on a pitch that was middle-in in the example above. This pitch was an off-speed that Arcia did not stay back on and flew open in a failed attempt to yank it on to Nicollet Mall. If he continued to do this, he would see a reduced coverage on the outer-half of the plate (which he did) and this is something that can been seen throughout his at-bats early in the season.

As I pointed out in June, because Arcia drops his hands, he has already shown a weakness to fastballs up in the zone and the Twins were trying to fix that issue as well. By the end of July, he was hitting a paltry .219/.299/.383. Needless to say, here was a lot to work on for the talented young slugger and, if his August numbers have anything to say about it, he appears to have turned a corner.

While Arcia’s focus may be on pulling the ball with ferocity, manager Ron Gardenhire has said he would like the outfielder to temper his swing instead of trying to hit the ball “8,000 miles”. Though some may interpret that as an attempt to convert Arcia from a power hitter into a punch-and-judy slapper, the reality is the Twins were looking for him to stay in on the pitch in order to drive the ball. Since August 1, this message apparently has resonated with Arcia and he has remained closed instead of flying open:

Attached Image: Arcia_Closed.png


This practice should be enable him to handle left-handed pitchers, who up to this point have been the bane of his existence.

The 23-year-old Arcia is making progress at the plate and it could spell more offense for the Twins in 2015.

Twins beat Cleveland on Thursday afternoon, so Friday you can get 50% off a L or XL pizza at PapaJohns.com.


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18 Comments

I wonder if he curled his bat more (e.g. Gary Sheffield, Julio Franco) it would help prevent him from dropping his hands so much in the load phase of his swing. 

In my last post about Arcia I pretty much predicted that pulling the ball all the time was going to make him too predictable and lead to poor results.  Right now he is making me look like an idiot so I am just gonna say I hope he continues to have success no matter how he does it.

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birdwatcher
Aug 22 2014 09:18 AM

Very succinct and clear illustration, Parker. Thank you, and it's nice to have another example that helps dispel the silly narrative about Gardy and others trying to take the power out of hitters' games.

 

Arcia seems to be responding to coachng instead of doing the coaching. Good thing Vargas isn't heeding Ozzie's advice to try to yank the ball. Kennys drove a homer and double yesterday to the opposite field. I wonder if Arcia has a chance to be a total beast once he calms himself and his swing down just a bit more and begins to hit more like he did throughout his minor league career. Without doing any research, I'm guessing he hit the ball to all fields with some authority.

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Willihammer
Aug 22 2014 09:35 AM
Better results lately but he still gets burned on good waist high fastballs. Struck out on another one last night from Kluber.
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Parker Hageman
Aug 22 2014 09:43 AM
Better results lately but he still gets burned on good waist high fastballs. Struck out on another one last night from Kluber.

 

 

And that goes back to the low hand point that hurts him in getting to those higher fastballs. He's a work in progress, no doubt but seeing some good signs.

I like that a few of the bombs lately have been on off-speed offerings.I think he's still essentially a "guess" hitter, but jacking curves and changeups shows an improvement in the pitch recognition regard.

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Parker Hageman
Aug 22 2014 10:05 AM
I like that a few of the bombs lately have been on off-speed offerings.I think he's still essentially a "guess" hitter, but jacking curves and changeups shows an improvement in the pitch recognition regard.

 

 

This is definitely an area of his game that has improved these past two and a half weeks. On "soft" pitches (breaking balls and changeups), he has gone 9-for-25 (.360) with three home runs when he has gone just 20-for-105 and one home run prior to August 1. Staying back and staying in helps a lot on those offspeed offerings. 

    • Steve Lein likes this

How much of this success can we contribute to the arrival of Kennys Vargas?Not to say that Vargas is hanging around the cage giving him pointers, but there is something to be said about peer pressure.Up until this point, Arica has been the young bull.The young power hitting prospect on the team.With the arrival of Vargas, Arica now has someone roughly his age on the team with a similar skill set.Arcia is competitive, you can see it in everything he does.With the recent arrival of Vargas and the early success he has had not only hitting for average but also hitting the long ball, I can see this as a real wake up call for Arcia.I can see him not wanting to be upstaged by one of his team mates. 

 

There is something to be said for team dynamics and I don't think it is a coincidence that Arcia started hitting at essentially the same time that Vargas arrived on the big league club.

    • Cris E, Steve_h, jokin and 2 others like this
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ScrapTheNickname
Aug 22 2014 11:47 AM

How much of this success can we contribute to the arrival of Kennys Vargas?Not to say that Vargas is hanging around the cage giving him pointers, but there is something to be said about peer pressure.Up until this point, Arica has been the young bull.The young power hitting prospect on the team.With the arrival of Vargas, Arica now has someone roughly his age on the team with a similar skill set.Arcia is competitive, you can see it in everything he does.With the recent arrival of Vargas and the early success he has had not only hitting for average but also hitting the long ball, I can see this as a real wake up call for Arcia.I can see him not wanting to be upstaged by one of his team mates. 

 

There is something to be said for team dynamics and I don't think it is a coincidence that Arcia started hitting at essentially the same time that Vargas arrived on the big league club.

I this is spot on. "Evidence" to back you up may be circumstantial, but if Arcia does indeed turn it around from this point going forward, one may correlate that turnaround with the arrival of Vargas.

I this is spot on. "Evidence" to back you up may be circumstantial, but if Arcia does indeed turn it around from this point going forward, one may correlate that turnaround with the arrival of Vargas.

 

If the two of them start a decade-long home run battle right now, you'll hear no complaints from me!  And get ready for more competition if Sano gets healthy and becomes the Vargas of 2015... I like the look of the long-term middle of the lineup.  It's even balanced: righty, lefty, and switch.

 

Bigger scale, it seems that the days of slap singles guys are gone...at least for guys projecting to be on the roster for a while.  Santana is the closest one to that description, and I think you can make the argument that most starters on the roster right now have at least doubles power, which is how it should be.

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Matt Kummer
Aug 22 2014 12:47 PM

"How much of this success can we contribute to the arrival of Kennys Vargas?Not to say that Vargas is hanging around the cage giving him pointers, but there is something to be said about peer pressure.Up until this point, Arica has been the young bull.The young power hitting prospect on the team.With the arrival of Vargas, Arica now has someone roughly his age on the team with a similar skill set.Arcia is competitive, you can see it in everything he does.With the recent arrival of Vargas and the early success he has had not only hitting for average but also hitting the long ball, I can see this as a real wake up call for Arcia.I can see him not wanting to be upstaged by one of his team mates. 

 

There is something to be said for team dynamics and I don't think it is a coincidence that Arcia started hitting at essentially the same time that Vargas arrived on the big league club."

 

100% percent agree with this. Arcia is competitive, but you see him talking with Vargas a lot and cheering him on. I think having someone the same age with similar skill that also speaks the same native language is a big benefit.

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Trautmann13
Aug 22 2014 12:58 PM

If Wally can hit like he has in August the rest of the way this year, It may even be worth sticking with him in right for the near future. 

 

That has always been his thing. Kills right-handers, looks like Bartolo Colon against southpaws, and is a butcher in the field. If his truly has figured something out and can be a reliable power threat for years to come; against both sides of the ball: I would feel just fine sticking with him in right. Especially with DH types everywhere (Vargas, Mauer, Pinto, Sano). 

 

Plus he has shown off his cannon of an arm for quite awhile now.

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TheLeviathan
Aug 22 2014 03:22 PM
I think Arcia's season has gone as expected, he had a lot more to work on than some thought preseason and we're seeing the fruits of his struggles now.

If the two of them start a decade-long home run battle right now, you'll hear no complaints from me!  And get ready for more competition if Sano gets healthy and becomes the Vargas of 2015... I like the look of the long-term middle of the lineup.  It's even balanced: righty, lefty, and switch.

 

Bigger scale, it seems that the days of slap singles guys are gone...at least for guys projecting to be on the roster for a while.  Santana is the closest one to that description, and I think you can make the argument that most starters on the roster right now have at least doubles power, which is how it should be.

 

If Santana can keep up hitting somewhere in the neighborhood of what he has done this year, the thought of a line-up like:

 

Buxton

Santana

Sano

Vargas

Arcia

 

with Mauer, Dozier, Suzuki/Pinto, Hicks/Rosario to follow in some order is completely ludicrous.

 

Heck, you could slice any combination of those players and pretty much any order, and it would be ludicrous, potentially.  It's certainly exciting.  

 

Last point regarding Arcia, I made a post in an Aaron Hicks thread awhile back showing the OPS+ of recent Twins hitters that have become successful that I think is worth posting again:

 

Gomez:

24 - MIL - 76
25 - MIL - 82
26 - MIL - 101
27 - MIL - 129

 

Dozier:

25 - MIN - 67
26 - MIN - 98
27 - MIN -108

 

Hunter:

24 - MIN - 80
25 - MIN - 102
26 - MIN - 124

 

Morneau:

22 - MIN - 73
23 - MIN - 122 (74 games)
24 - MIN - 93
25 - MIN - 140

 

Cuddyer:

25 - MIN - 100
26 - MIN - 97
27 - MIN -124

 

Here's Arcia:

 

22 - MIN - 101

23 - MIN - 109

 

...and we've all seen him improve tremendously in the last month or more.  Now, given that he's shown the ability to adapt and improve, consider that we all note very reasonable areas for continued improvement for him.

 

I've said it before, I'm just a fraction less excited about Arcia versus Buxton and Sano.  Outside of his range in the outfield, which is borderline laughable, you've got to love his attitude and ability to swing the bat.  

I go to sleep at night with visions of Vargas, Sano, Arcia dancing in my lineup.

 

Sano, Vargas, Arcia. Vargas, Sano, Arcia. Sano, Vargas, Arcia. Vargas, Sano, Arcia

Sano, Vargas, Arcia. Vargas, Sano, Arcia. Sano, Vargas, Arcia. Vargas, Sano, Arcia

Sano, Vargas, Arcia. Vargas, Sano, Arcia. Sano, Vargas, Arcia. Vargas, Sano, Arcia

    • goulik likes this

I think Arcia will adjust to LHP, but lets assume for a second that he doens't.  How does this platoon sounds come June of next year:

 

LHP - .807 Career OPS

RHP - .799 Career OPS

 

The .807 is Plouffe, the .799 is Arcia.  Pretty good production from left field

    • Cris E and minn55441 like this
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Brock Beauchamp
Aug 23 2014 06:57 AM

I think Arcia will adjust to LHP, but lets assume for a second that he doens't.  How does this platoon sounds come June of next year:

 

LHP - .807 Career OPS

RHP - .799 Career OPS

 

The .807 is Plouffe, the .799 is Arcia.  Pretty good production from left field

 

That's basically an All-Star corner outfielder from a platoon. I like the idea of Arcia getting ABs against lefties but should he fail, this would be a great fall-back option.

3 weeks is a pretty small sample size.  I want to see him do it the rest of the year before I'm going to get my hopes up, and even that isn't really that many at bats. I would love it if the lightbulb has come on for him though, he is fun to watch.


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