While he surely celebrates fellow Venezuelan Felix Hernandez's perfect game, I'd like to celebrate Oswaldo Arcia by taking a closer look at his numbers, tools and what he may ultimately mean to us as fantasy players. He began his career in 2009 rookie ball after being signed out of Venezuela. He planted himself firmly on the prospect map in 2010 after posting a .375/.424/.672 slash line in the Appalachian League (Rookie Level).
Let's take a look after the jump at how he's done since then...
If 2010 was a dream for Arcia, 2011 was well short of a nightmare, but more like a restless night of tossing and turning. Sure he got off to a great start in Lo-A, slashing .352/.420/.704, but that was followed my a two-month absence due to elbow surgery which threatened one of his best tools - his arm. The Twins promoted him up the chain to Hi-A Fort Myers upon his return and he posted a respectable .263/.300/.460 line as a 20-year old in the Florida State League. Some lost a bit of faith in Arcia after he went under the knife and his numbers dipped, but given his age relative to his level, his slash stats in Hi-A were nothing to sneeze at, and his numbers in Lo-A were nothing short of phenomenal. It becomes a bit more understandable when you see that his BB% dropped from 11.1% to 4% and his K% jumped 3.5% between the two levels, but given those terrible peripherals, his Hi-A line is fairly remarkable. Arcia has gone about setting the record straight in 2012, showing pre-surgery form by hitting .309/.376/.517 in 235 at-bats back at Fort Myers. He upped his BB% back to just under 10% and dropped his K rate back to his pre-injury range of 19%. His progress with his approach earned him a promotion to Double-A, where he's actually elevated his game, smashing his way to a .330/.408/.555 line. He has even moved his walk rate to 10.4%, though he's seen a similar escalation in his K% up over 21%. It's important to note that while he has flourished in Double-A, he has a BABIP of .398, and while that is certainly unsustainable, he has posted BABIPs above league average at almost every stop along the way, so he's not necessarily due the regression that one might think. Though he started behind Aaron Hicks and Joe Benson on many Minnesota Twins Top 10 lists, I think Arcia is the guy to own, and the surest bet to be a worthwhile fantasy contributor of the three.
A classic power hitter, Arcia might not get his due, because he plays in the shadow of Miguel Sano despite mashing two levels higher. Arcia's raw power is plus to all fields, and he generates it with good bat speed and fluid hips. He uses his hands well, and scouts hang a future plus on his hit tools as well. Any time someone can combine a plus hit and a plus power tool, I'm interested. Arcia has matched his career high of 14 homers this year, splitting them evenly between Hi-A and Double-A, all while maintaining a batting average over .300. He's strong enough that he shows the ability to drive balls despite not barreling them. At 6'0/210 lbs, Arcia doesn't exactly scream "athlete," but he moves well enough to stick in an outfield corner. His build doesn't hold a ton of projection in it, in regards to adding muscle to his frame, but that doesn't mean he can't learn to add loft and leverage to his swing. Given his frame and relative lack of athleticism, Arcia isn't going to be burning up the basepaths any time soon. He could be an average runner at best, but will likely settle in at below average. Arcia has plus arm strength and gets carry on his throws, so he should be able to hack it in right field, but left field could be an option is he loses arm strength or speed down the line. While no one tool stands out for Arcia, the overall package presents itself as a low end first division regular or a high end second division player, and there's plenty of value in those in fantasy.
Minnesota isn't exactly hurting for outfielders, which is a good thing as they will have no reason to rush Arcia up the ranks. They've been aggressive as is, promoting him to Double-A by 21, and it would serve him well to see more time at the higher levels to work out the kinks in his game. That said, he has a higher fantasy ceiling than Denard Span or Ben Revere, so it would be a welcome sight for fantasy owners when he does crack the lineup. I think he'll likely be in line for a September call up next year, with a potential full time role in early 2014, but as we've seen before, prospects can and will break into the majors at their own pace, so keep Arcia's name in mind, because you'll likely hear about him as soon as next year.
I've embedded some footage of Arcia from the 2012 Futures Game in Kansas City for you to look at:
Kevin Goldstein/Baseball Prospectus
Jason Parks/Baseball Prospectus