• For Better or Worse: Oswaldo Arcia

    Tonight, Oswaldo Arcia will be presented with a Diamond Award tonight as the Sherry Robertson Award winner as the Twins Minor League Hitter of the Year. The talented outfielder had a tremendous 2012 season and is moving up prospect rankings. More important, he is putting himself in position to be part of the Minnesota Twins big league roster sometime in 2014.

    Arcia is prominently featured in the Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook (paperback or e-book). Like 150 other Twins prospects, he is profiled, but because he was also our choice for minor league hitter of the year, there is a feature story on him with quotes from teammates. Quotes like, “He was the guy we wanted up when we needed a big hit.” Or, “He just always finds a way to get the good part of the bat on the ball.”

    But the question for today is: Following a tremendous 2012, will Oswaldo Arcia be Better or Worse in 2013? He will head to his second big league spring training in mid-February and that is when we will start to find out.

    2012 Recap

    I guess when you are named the Twins minor league hitter of the year (in a year with several very strong candidates!), the assumption can be that the season was quite good. For Arcia, it certainly was. He had moved up to Ft. Myers for the second half of the 2011 season following elbow surgery, and he struggled a little bit. He hit .263/.300/.460 (.760) with 24 extra base hits, including a team-leading eight home runs.

    So, he returned to Ft. Myers to start 2012 where, as a 20 year old, he hit .309/.376/.517 with 16 doubles, three triples and seven home runs. He did cut out his strikeout rate (23% to 19%), while significantly increasing his walk rate (4% to 10%). After 55 games, he was promoted to AA New Britain, which is supposed to be more difficult. However, Arcia made a mockery of the Eastern League, fully solidifying himself as a top prospect in more than just the Twins system. In 69 games, he hit .328/.398/.557 (.955) and hit 20 doubles, five triples and ten home runs. His strikeout rate increased by about 1.6% from where it was in Ft. Myers, but his walk rate dropped less than half of a percent.

    Overall, he hit .320/.388/.539 (.928) with 36 doubles, eight triples, 17 home runs and 98 RBI. He played in the Futures Game where he was 1-2 with a double off of Pirates pitching prospect Jameson Taillon. Baseball America ranked him as the Twins #3 prospect (as did I) and John Manuel commented that there are several teams where he would be the easy choice as #1 prospect.

    Arcia has been hitting since probably long before the Twins signed him out of Venezuela in 2007. He posted a .775 OPS in 2008 in the Dominican Summer League. His OPS was .792 in 2008 with the GCL Twins. His status was certainly heightened in 2010 when he was the Appy League player of the year. He hit .375/.424/.672 (1.096 OPS) with 21 doubles, seven triples and 14 home runs. He moved up to Beloit in 2011 where, in a month, he hit .352/.420/.704 (1.124 OPS) with eight doubles, a triple and five home runs. In a month. He ended that 2011 in Ft. Myers, where I said he struggled, but ‘struggled’ was still posting a .760 OPS.

    Why He’ll Be Worse

    It will be a very important spring training for Arcia. Where he breaks camp will be quite interesting, and frankly, could send him any of three directions. Due to numbers and the fact that he can be called up from AA as well as AAA, he could return to New Britain for a couple of months. Most would say that he should just start the season at Rochester. There is also an outside chance that he could start the season with the Twins, however, that is quite unlikely. The Twins have Josh Willingham and Chris Parmelee that should start the season in the corners, and Ryan Doumit can (kind of) play those positions as well. Arcia is just 21 years old, so he needs to play and there is no reason to rush him.

    There are still things that are, at least to some level, that he has to work on. We have already talked about his strikeout rate which has been pretty consistently between 19% and 23% throughout his young career. For the type of production he has put up, those numbers are far from alarming, but could it become an issue as he moves up? Potentially. Although his overall numbers hardly indicate it, Arcia has struggled at times against left-handed pitchers. In fact, in the season’s first month, his lefty-righty splits were quite different, as was the case in 2011 at Ft. Myers. He made some adjustments during the 2012 season to greatly improve his performance against southpaws. He’s a very smart baseball player already considering his youth, but he can certainly improve his base running as well.

    Why He’ll Be Better

    Frankly, it is going to be hard for Arcia to move up a level and put up the kinds of video game numbers he put up in 2012 again, but that doesn’t mean that he can’t continue to keep his prospect status just as high or higher.

    However, Arcia is a natural hitter. He has tremendous power to all fields, and those things you hear from his teammates about always being able to get the good part on the bat really matter. It speaks to his ability to make adjustments, not only over the course of a season but even on the level of a single at bat. He can turn on a fastball inside, but he knows best to take those pitches on the outside corner to the opposite field.

    He will not turn 22 years old until May. The sky is the limit for him. The experience he has had this offseason in the Venezuelan Winter League, particularly in the playoffs where he more consistently is playing against top talent, has been very encouraging. He has displayed his power potential. Can he put the ball in play a little more often? If so, that would help some.

    2013 should be a fun season to follow Oswaldo Arcia. If he goes back to New Britain, the hope would be that he would rake for a month and prove that his 2012 was not just a fluke. Against the much-older pitchers in AAA, he will have to show patience and that he can make adjustments.

    Arcia is a good defensive outfielder. He is a right-fielder primarily because he has a very strong arm. He has about average speed, so he is a better fit in the corners, especially when you have speed guys like Aaron Hicks and Joe Benson for centerfield. He did play a handful of games in center in 2012, and played there primarily in Elizabethton. He has not played left field since his GCL days.

    Seth Projected ETA for Arcia – I think that the Twins will trade Justin Morneau in July. At that time, Chris Parmelee will move back in to first base, and Arcia will take over in right field.

    So, which will it be? Will (or can) Oswaldo Arcia get (any) better or worse in 2013? Let us know what you think.




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    This article was originally published in blog: For Better or Worse: Oswaldo Arcia started by Seth Stohs
    Comments 23 Comments
    1. Cap'n Piranha's Avatar
      Cap'n Piranha -
      I think Oswaldo will be better by the simple fact that he will largely replicate his 2012 numbers, except he will be doing it at AAA from day 1 of the season. I also think he is very underappreciated nationally, and even quite possibly locally as well. To wit, compare the following two players, both of whom spent approximately half a year in the AA Eastern League last year.

      Player 1, born 5/9/91, 262 AB, .328/.398/.557, 86 H, 20 2B, 5 3B, 10 HR, 28 BB, 62 K, 3 SB

      Player 2, born 3/4/92, 322 AB, .264/.296/.382, 85 H, 15 2B, 1 3B, 7 HR, 14 BB, 76 K, 5 SB

      Player 1 is Oswaldo (as you may have guessed), and is listed as the Twins #7 prospect, and not in the national Top 100, by MLB.com. Player 2 is ranked as the #10 prospect in the ENTIRE COUNTRY, and is the Tiger's Nick Castellanos.

      Obviously, 3rd base is a far more premium defensive position than RF, but given Oswaldo's dominant offensive superiority over Castellanos in the exact same league last year, I believe that either Arcia is criminally underrated, or Castellanos is grossly overrated. Either way, I expect to see Arcia get some run in 2013, and win the right field job outright to start 2014.
    1. Oldgoat_MN's Avatar
      Oldgoat_MN -
      Completely agree with Cap'n Piranha. IMHO, Arcia is the best pure hitter the Twins have right now other than Mauer. As the youngest player on the Rock Cats he was their most dangerous hitter with the highest OPS (OK, Ramirez was higher, but in only 49 at bats).
      AAA is definitely a different level, but I expect him to do well and finally start getting the attention he deserves. If Parmelee falters we may very well see Arcia in a Twins uniform this year.
    1. mnfanforlife's Avatar
      mnfanforlife -
      Oswaldo is a true baller. I would look for him to finish 2013 in Minnesota if Morneau, Willingham, or Parmelee is traded around the deadline.
    1. Steve Penz's Avatar
      Steve Penz -
      The future looks really bright for him and I hope to see him for a call up (at the least) by the end of this year. I hope that they will trade Mourneau as you mention and the ensuing shift leaves that hole in right. It could be really sweet to watch that happen. The question I have is about his long-term position. I read reports that say he has an arm that is more than suitable for RF and others that say his arm is, "good enough." Seth, yours is the first piece I have read that called his arm, "very powerful." My point is that is does not seem unanimous that he has the prototypical right field arm. I also read that his lower half is very powerfully built. If he proceeds in getting stronger with his shorter (6 foot) frame, it seems to me that he will slow down. Why is there no mention of LF for him? If he could end up to have avg speed, an above avg arm and great hitting skills, that seems like a more natural place for him.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by SRP View Post
      The future looks really bright for him and I hope to see him for a call up (at the least) by the end of this year. I hope that they will trade Mourneau as you mention and the ensuing shift leaves that hole in right. It could be really sweet to watch that happen. The question I have is about his long-term position. I read reports that say he has an arm that is more than suitable for RF and others that say his arm is, "good enough." Seth, yours is the first piece I have read that called his arm, "very powerful." My point is that is does not seem unanimous that he has the prototypical right field arm. I also read that his lower half is very powerfully built. If he proceeds in getting stronger with his shorter (6 foot) frame, it seems to me that he will slow down. Why is there no mention of LF for him? If he could end up to have avg speed, an above avg arm and great hitting skills, that seems like a more natural place for him.
      Ben Revere played a lot of RF for the Twins the last year or two... I'd say that Oswaldo Arcia's arm isn't an issue. LF could happen too, but he hasn't played there much. Not that he couldn't. I mean, Rene Tosoni played only RF and some CF in the minors and the Twins put him in LF up here. Frankly, it just doesn't matter to me as long as his bat is in the lineup and he's in the OF.
    1. Steve Lein's Avatar
      Steve Lein -
      Quote Originally Posted by SRP View Post
      The future looks really bright for him and I hope to see him for a call up (at the least) by the end of this year. I hope that they will trade Mourneau as you mention and the ensuing shift leaves that hole in right. It could be really sweet to watch that happen. The question I have is about his long-term position. I read reports that say he has an arm that is more than suitable for RF and others that say his arm is, "good enough." Seth, yours is the first piece I have read that called his arm, "very powerful." My point is that is does not seem unanimous that he has the prototypical right field arm. I also read that his lower half is very powerfully built. If he proceeds in getting stronger with his shorter (6 foot) frame, it seems to me that he will slow down. Why is there no mention of LF for him? If he could end up to have avg speed, an above avg arm and great hitting skills, that seems like a more natural place for him.
      The consensus seems to be Oswaldo has plenty arm for a typical RF, though it isn't necessarily that much "above-average". As Seth says, I wouldn't fret over the arm too much, he won't be even close to Revere-ish out there in that regard.

      To your second point, he has already slowed down and you can check out this Scouting Report: Scouting Report: Oswaldo Arcia (OF) | Baseball Prospect Nation

      where it is stated he has "Lost much of his athleticism over the last two years." and also discusses in depth most all of your questions/concerns.
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      Of all the prospects that are close, Arcia is my favorite one...heck, he may just be my favorite prospect, period.
    1. Steve Lein's Avatar
      Steve Lein -
      Quote Originally Posted by Cap'n Piranha View Post
      I think Oswaldo will be better by the simple fact that he will largely replicate his 2012 numbers, except he will be doing it at AAA from day 1 of the season. I also think he is very underappreciated nationally, and even quite possibly locally as well. To wit, compare the following two players, both of whom spent approximately half a year in the AA Eastern League last year.

      Player 1, born 5/9/91, 262 AB, .328/.398/.557, 86 H, 20 2B, 5 3B, 10 HR, 28 BB, 62 K, 3 SB

      Player 2, born 3/4/92, 322 AB, .264/.296/.382, 85 H, 15 2B, 1 3B, 7 HR, 14 BB, 76 K, 5 SB

      Player 1 is Oswaldo (as you may have guessed), and is listed as the Twins #7 prospect, and not in the national Top 100, by MLB.com. Player 2 is ranked as the #10 prospect in the ENTIRE COUNTRY, and is the Tiger's Nick Castellanos.

      Obviously, 3rd base is a far more premium defensive position than RF, but given Oswaldo's dominant offensive superiority over Castellanos in the exact same league last year, I believe that either Arcia is criminally underrated, or Castellanos is grossly overrated. Either way, I expect to see Arcia get some run in 2013, and win the right field job outright to start 2014.
      I like the name you throw out here, as Castellanos was a guy I thought the Twins might draft the year they took Alex Wimmers. However, the prospect ranking difference between the two is easily traced, considering what Castellanos did before he was promoted to AA, which was hit over .400 in the Florida State League. Where they currently differ, is power output, but Castellanos' will show up more as he matures and gets more experience. He is a bigger guy than Arcia and has spent 2 less seasons in the Minors, yet they were at the same level last year.
    1. ashburyjohn's Avatar
      ashburyjohn -
      Arcia could get "worse" in 2013 and still be on track for a very good major league career, so put me down for a AAA OPS of .700 or so with a positive trend as the season goes along.
    1. Steve Penz's Avatar
      Steve Penz -
      Quote Originally Posted by Seth Stohs View Post
      Ben Revere played a lot of RF for the Twins the last year or two... I'd say that Oswaldo Arcia's arm isn't an issue. LF could happen too, but he hasn't played there much. Not that he couldn't. I mean, Rene Tosoni played only RF and some CF in the minors and the Twins put him in LF up here. Frankly, it just doesn't matter to me as long as his bat is in the lineup and he's in the OF.
      Seth and Steve Lein- Good enough and agreed. In my ideal little world we would trade both Willingham and Morneau during this year and meanwhile Benson, Hicks and Arcia would develop/recover nicely. That way those 3 could start the 2014 season in the outfield. It looks somewhat promising the 2/3rds of this could happen and we will see if Benson can find it.
    1. Steve Lein's Avatar
      Steve Lein -
      Quote Originally Posted by SRP View Post
      Seth and Steve Lein- Good enough and agreed. In my ideal little world we would trade both Willingham and Morneau during this year and meanwhile Benson, Hicks and Arcia would develop/recover nicely. That way those 3 could start the 2014 season in the outfield. It looks somewhat promising the 2/3rds of this could happen and we will see if Benson can find it.
      I love the sound of that outfield (and in every Sim MLB game I've played that's what my 2014 OF has ended up as), and while I don't necessarily agree with the "trade both Willingham and Morneau" part (I want Morneau to come back in a big way this year and stick around), you may be right.
    1. Twins Twerp's Avatar
      Twins Twerp -
      Quote Originally Posted by SRP View Post
      Seth and Steve Lein- Good enough and agreed. In my ideal little world we would trade both Willingham and Morneau during this year and meanwhile Benson, Hicks and Arcia would develop/recover nicely. That way those 3 could start the 2014 season in the outfield. It looks somewhat promising the 2/3rds of this could happen and we will see if Benson can find it.
      Rosario is still an outfield possibility as well although he AND Sano look more like 2015 at the earliest.
    1. jimbo92107's Avatar
      jimbo92107 -
      If Morneau puts in a healthy first half, then he and Willingham will be major trade bait for various contending teams. At that point I expect to see at least two of Hicks, Benson and Arcia on the big league club.

      Although I think Arcia has more potential, I figure Benson will get the look first. Hicks I'm assuming will be up either right out of spring or sometime during the first half.
    1. nokomismod's Avatar
      nokomismod -
      This is one of the reasons I am excited about 2014 and beyond! Hope he is able to translate the success to the bigs.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      How many AAA hitters had a higher OPS last year? Very excited about him, but I would not be surprised if he drops a tad in output.
    1. Celebrity Weddings!'s Avatar
      Celebrity Weddings! -
      Quote Originally Posted by SRP View Post
      The question I have is about his long-term position. I read reports that say he has an arm that is more than suitable for RF and others that say his arm is, "good enough." Seth, yours is the first piece I have read that called his arm, "very powerful." My point is that is does not seem unanimous that he has the prototypical right field arm. I also read that his lower half is very powerfully built. If he proceeds in getting stronger with his shorter (6 foot) frame, it seems to me that he will slow down. Why is there no mention of LF for him? \.
      I saw him in August and I was really impressed with his defense. He had good range going back and towards centerfield, and his throws got surprising carry on them for somebody without big long arms. I realize that big long arms aren't necessary, but it's a look, right?

      And for what it's worth, the opposition seems to have taken note of his arm too. There was at least one flyball to right that I thought was an easy decision to tag on for the runner on second. Dude just watched it into Arcia's glove, gave a half-assed fake towards third to draw a throw, and then retreated back to second upon seeing that this throw would have nailed him by a pretty wide margin.
    1. mnfanforlife's Avatar
      mnfanforlife -
      Quote Originally Posted by Celebrity Weddings! View Post
      I saw him in August and I was really impressed with his defense. He had good range going back and towards centerfield, and his throws got surprising carry on them for somebody without big long arms. I realize that big long arms aren't necessary, but it's a look, right?

      And for what it's worth, the opposition seems to have taken note of his arm too. There was at least one flyball to right that I thought was an easy decision to tag on for the runner on second. Dude just watched it into Arcia's glove, gave a half-assed fake towards third to draw a throw, and then retreated back to second upon seeing that this throw would have nailed him by a pretty wide margin.
      Maybe he was a slow runner at second? But yes, Ozzie Arcia is a true-baller that can do a little bit of everything on the baseball field. Could develop into an MLB All-Star...
    1. cmathewson's Avatar
      cmathewson -
      I can see a scenario where he is the everyday left fielder for the Twins by the end of 2013. If he continues to hit for Rochester as he did for New Britain, and if the Twins get a good offer for Willingham during the trade season, he'd be an easy choice to take over in left for The Hammer. Gardy is really high on him and will give him every opportunity to show what he can do in spring training. Then he needs to play everyday in AAA until the Twins make room for him.
    1. jlovren's Avatar
      jlovren -
      I think he needs to start the year in AAA and see how his numbers play out before we start talking call ups. It was very impressive how he hit in AA but he is young and eeds to learn patience. My prediction is he is starting in 2014 in the bigs.
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