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  • The Advantageous Oswaldo Arcia

    Oswaldo Arcia’s rookie season was filled with the expected peaks and valleys that most normal human rookies encounter during their first year of facing the world’s best competition.

    Offensively, he displayed flashes of unbridled power by depositing home runs to all fields but alternated those moments with stretches of being lost. Over three games in early July, Arcia woofed 11 times in 18 at-bats. In that small sampling, he swung the bat 26 times but managed to put the ball in play just three times (two infield flies and a medium fly to left) while missing 16 times and fouling off seven more.

    Sent back to Rochester shortly thereafter – perhaps just for his own sanity’s sake as he seemed ready to snap – Arcia returned to Minnesota in August for the duration of the season and continued to hit the ball hard (when he made contact).

    Like many overzealous noobies, Arcia struggled to maintain the respectable plate discipline he had worked hard to cultivate while in the minors in 2012. In the bigs, he reverted back to his previous ways and swung harder and more frequently than your parents at the neighbor’s key party in the late 1980’s.

    There are pros and cons to this approach.

    First, Arcia thrived in hitter’s counts when he could anticipate the heater. Perhaps because he was an unproven player, the Twins outfielder saw a higher than average number of fastballs when he had the drop on pitchers (70% vs. 62% league average) and he was able to capitalize. Of his 14 home runs, seven came on fastballs when he was ahead in the count. Beyond that, just based on batting average, he was baseball’s best when ahead in the count – his .509 batting average led the game (minimum 50 plate appearances).

    Skeptics can (rightly) point out that this is a small universe to make any sweeping proclamations; however the takeaway is that in situations Arcia needed to take advantage, he did. The reason that Arcia’s plate discipline numbers were so skewed towards the pitcher’s favor is because, far too often, the pitcher was in the catbird seat. Under those circumstances, he struggled mightily and hit just .160 as pitchers put away the fastball (just 44% of the time) and opened up their repertoire to twirl different offerings past his bat.

    Visually, we can see how much better Arcia’s swing zone is when he is ahead in the count compared to the vast swath of real estate he tries to cover once he falls behind. It turns into an “Oh my god, here’s strike three coming: Kill it! Kill it!” mentality.


    (via ESPN Stats & Info)

    There is no question that Arcia’s swing is fundamentally strong. With strong engagement with his lower half (controlled stride, solid hip involvement), his ability to keep his hands in to his body allows him to drive the ball well to all fields, as seen in the example below:


    As Arcia develops his pitch recognition and comprehension skills, the presumption is he will be behind in the count less often as pitchers become more reluctant to throw him anything cherry. If he is able to ignore those out-of-zone pitches, this should allow for him to jump on more of the suitable pitches and deploy his powerful swing.
    This article was originally published in blog: The Advantageous Oswaldo Arcia started by Parker Hageman
    Comments 30 Comments
    1. freshinthehouse's Avatar
      freshinthehouse -
      " In the bigs, he reverted back to his previous ways and swung harder and more frequently than your parents at the neighbor’s key party in the late 1980’s."

      Fantastic.
    1. ashburyjohn's Avatar
      ashburyjohn -
      Quote Originally Posted by freshinthehouse View Post
      " in the bigs, he reverted back to his previous ways and swung harder and more frequently than your parents at the neighbor’s key party in the late 1980’s."

      Ewww.
      ftfy.
    1. USAFChief's Avatar
      USAFChief -
      Quote Originally Posted by freshinthehouse View Post
      " In the bigs, he reverted back to his previous ways and swung harder and more frequently than your parents at the neighbor’s key party in the late 1980’s."

      .
      ah....memories...
    1. clank2000's Avatar
      clank2000 -
      "Arcia thrived in hitter’s counts when he could anticipate the heater."

      Sounds like a certain slugger who roamed rightfield for the Twins during most of the '80's. I just hope that's not what he's teaching our youngsters - to be "mistake hitters".
    1. clank2000's Avatar
      clank2000 -
      Quote Originally Posted by freshinthehouse View Post
      " In the bigs, he reverted back to his previous ways and swung harder and more frequently than your parents at the neighbor’s key party in the late 1980’s."

      Fantastic.
      I thought key parties were a '70's phenomenon.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      I would love more mistake hitters......that's how bonds did it, when a pitcher made a mistake, he crushed it. Too many Twins can't do that right now.
    1. jay's Avatar
      jay -
      From the numbers we were looking at the other day, it'd be easy to say Dozier does the same thing. As I look at it more now, their numbers are both a bit more to the extremes (Arcia especially), but not really bizarre or anything. Parker, where'd you get the .510 for Arcia when ahead?

      Splits via BRef, MLB:
      Ahead - .297/.463/.494 (.957)
      Behind - .202/.210.294 (.504)

      Dozier:
      Ahead - .312/.460/.618 (1.078)
      Behind - .183/.197/.254 (.451)

      Arcia:
      Ahead - .365/.492/.719 (1.210)
      Behind - .143/.149/.171 (.320)
    1. Parker Hageman's Avatar
      Parker Hageman -
      Parker, where'd you get the .510 for Arcia when ahead?
      ESPN/trumedia.

      The difference is that B-R counts 3-2 counts as "batter ahead" -- which is 63 additional plate appearances in which he hit .186 thereby lowing his B-R splits total to .365. At ESPN/trumedia the 3-2 count is considered "even" which, for all intents and purposes, is an even count.

      Dozier had a very similar problem of not being able to hit secondary stuff well.
    1. Parker Hageman's Avatar
      Parker Hageman -
      The difference is that Dozier made contact (17.8% swinging strike rate when in pitcher's counts) and Arcia did not (34.8%).
    1. jay's Avatar
      jay -
      Quote Originally Posted by Parker Hageman View Post
      The difference is that B-R counts 3-2 counts as "batter ahead" -- which is 63 additional plate appearances in which he hit .186 thereby lowing his B-R splits total to .365. At ESPN/trumedia the 3-2 count is considered "even" which, for all intents and purposes, is an even count.
      Correct you are, as usual, good sir. Thanks!
    1. SouthDakotaFarmer's Avatar
      SouthDakotaFarmer -
      It may be the fact that he is a corner outfielder and has the same body type and facial features, but he reminds me of Bobby Abreu. I hope he ends up being a walk machine and hitting 25+ dingers a year like Abreu did. I have no idea how his "metrics" or whatever you number nerds call it match up to Abreu's but I like the way this kid approaches his at-bats.
    1. Jim H's Avatar
      Jim H -
      I am very excited for what Arcia can become. I think that with all the talk about the phenoms Buxton and Sano we the fans, sort of overlook Arcia. He is still quite young, was promoted quite quickly through the upper minors and clearly has things to work on. But, it would be nice to see him intrench himself in right field(I think if they put him there and leave him there he will be OK). The power is clearly for real and the swing is good enough to eventually allow him to hit for a good average as well. If the discipline and pitch recognition come along(as Parker says) he will be a lot of fun to watch.
    1. kab21's Avatar
      kab21 -
      I'm excited about Arcia but wary as well. There were hints (scouting reports and stats) of being overaggressive with problems hitting breaking balls in the minors and his first MLB season increased those concerns. Has still has nice (offensive) upside though.
    1. oldguy10's Avatar
      oldguy10 -
      I think any Twins' fans would take Abreu like numbers from Arcia. And I'd sure like to see some of the attitude Gardy displays toward him be a thing of the past, none of the young players need that, at least I sure do not think so. Encouragement not disparagement toward the younger players is what is needed from management at all levels.
    1. Madre Dos's Avatar
      Madre Dos -
      I messaged Oswaldo on July 4th and I told him that I didn't think that there were to many 22 year olds that can say that they have a hit off of Pettitte, Hughes and Sabathia. He was happy that his "Elizabethton Mom" was keeping track of his progress. Oswaldo will be fine. Remember, he won't be 23 until May.
    1. DocBauer's Avatar
      DocBauer -
      At this point I don't know that he has much of anything to prove in the minors. (Yes he has things to work on!) I expect streaks as well as peaks and valleys. He's little more than an almost 23yo rookie. At this point, on a rebuilding club, getting younger all the time, I believe you run with him most days, sit him on occasion to collect himself once in a while.

      I have a lot of faith in the Twins coaching staff as a whole. With the addition of Molitor, we now have four different coaches that have had various degrees of success as hitting instructors both in the minors and majors. Each has received positive reviews at different times collectively, and with/from individual players. And the staff seems to work well together as a whole, no egos getting in the way. I think this offers a lot of potentially good coaching not only for Arcia, but also the other young hitters on the way up.
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      Advantageous and adventurous as well...
      This is from tonight:

    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by Thrylos View Post
      Advantageous and adventurous as well...
      This is from tonight:

      That was plain ugly and Delmon-esque, from all 6 angles....la pelota y el matodor whiffo ole'! I think there were more cameraman than fans watching that game.

      Do you at least have an encouraging box score to share, Thrylos?
    1. twinsnorth49's Avatar
      twinsnorth49 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Thrylos View Post
      Advantageous and adventurous as well...
      This is from tonight:

      Was he ahead in the count there or behind? I couldn't tell.
    1. wabene's Avatar
      wabene -
      Quote Originally Posted by oldguy10 View Post
      I think any Twins' fans would take Abreu like numbers from Arcia. And I'd sure like to see some of the attitude Gardy displays toward him be a thing of the past, none of the young players need that, at least I sure do not think so. Encouragement not disparagement toward the younger players is what is needed from management at all levels.
      My memory from last year is that Gardy was very positive with reference to Arcia. He would talk about how he loved his fearless attitude as he approached the plate.
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