Oswaldo Arcia

Oswaldo Arcia

The marginalization of Oswaldo Arcia

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There are currently seven major leaguers 24 and under with a career OPS+ over 100 in at least 500 at-bats.

167 – Mike Trout
135 – Bryce Harper
108 – Manny Machado
105 – Christian Yelich
104 – Oswaldo Arcia
103 – Avisail Garcia
101 – Nolan Arenado

Six of those guys are considered building blocks by their teams. The other, Arcia, seems to be at a career crossroads already, even though he’s hardly tasted failure at any point in his career.

Arcia arrived in the majors before his 22nd birthday, debuting in April 2013. He was demoted a few times that season, even though his numbers were decent, if unspectacular, throughout. He finished up at .251/.304/.430 with 14 homers in 351 at-bats.

The next spring, Arcia was penciled right in as the Twins’ right fielder, only to develop wrist troubles very early on. He was placed on the DL on April 9. He went on to excel in his rehab assignment, hitting .308/.349/.487 in 12 games, yet the Twins optioned him to Triple-A for a spell anyway. He came back in late May and played regularly the rest of the way, finishing up at .231/.300/.452. Despite the low average, he had a 108 OPS+, largely because of his 20 homers (second on the Twins).

After last season, the Twins took away Arcia’s position by signing Torii Hunter, but he was still seemingly assured the left field job. However, weird things happened right off the bat. The left-handed-hitting Arcia started Opening Day against lefty David Price, only to find himself on the bench against a righty three days later. Arcia went on to sit three times in the first nine games. He slumped. He only started to pull out of it at the end of April, going 7-for-13 with a homer in four starts. That’s what a hip injury put him on the disabled list.

Despite that promising surge, it was apparent right away that Arcia might not immediately reemerge in Minnesota’s plans following his return. For one thing, the team needed a break from playing three liabilities in the outfield, as it often was with Arcia in left, Jordan Schafer in center and Hunter in right. Arcia’s struggles against lefties and his strikeout rate were also problems, even though he didn’t fan overly much during April (15 K’s in 65 PA).

Sure enough, Arcia was sent down after going hitless in the first four games of his rehab assignment. It’s the third time in three years he’s been optioned out. Whether it’s the hip, his frustrations over being buried or something else, he’s continued to slump since the demotion, hitting .214/.227/.310 in 12 games.

Arcia is a flawed player. The troubles against lefties aren’t going away, and he’s a poor outfielder perhaps best suited to DH duties. That seemed like a big problem at the start of the year, following Kennys Vargas’s emergence. But with Vargas also struggling to find his way with these 2015 Twins, there’s plenty of room for Arcia at DH should the team decide to go that route. Obviously, it hasn’t happened yet.

Still, it’s not at all reasonable that the Twins are so down on him. Beat writers have speculated that he’ll be traded. One writers suggested this spring that he should begin the season in the minors. Of late, there’s been more talk about prospect Miguel Sano becoming the Twins’ DH than Arcia. Oddly enough, Arcia is playing regularly in right field in Triple-A, even though the team surely won’t ask Hunter to change positions this year. It makes little sense. Right-handed power is difficult to come by these days, and young hitters as productive as Arcia rarely prove to be flops.

Maybe all of this turns around if Arcia turns it on in Triple-A over these next few weeks. After all, the Twins have given Shane Robinson two starts and Eduardo Escobar one start in left field over these last five games. Vargas has slumped since his return from Triple-A and has no sort of handle on the DH job. It’s not hard to imagine Arcia spending the final three months of the season as one of the Twins’ best hitters. Unfortunately, it’s also not hard to imagine him getting traded for a veteran security blanket as the Twins try to gear up for a playoff run.

Oswaldo Arcia is healthy, so Twins demoted him to Triple-A

Oswaldo Arcia
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For the second time in Oswaldo Arcia’s brief big-league career the Twins have activated him from the disabled list and demoted him to Triple-A after he had a starting job at the time of the initial injury.

In this case Arcia has been out for the past month with a hip injury and went 0-for-11 on a brief minor-league rehab assignment at Triple-A, but there was nothing stopping the Twins from having him simply continue on the rehab stint.

Instead they activated him from the DL and turned the stay in Rochester into a straight-up demotion for a 24-year-old with 853 plate appearances and a .741 career OPS in the majors. Odder still, the Twins previously demoted designated hitter Kennys Vargas to Triple-A and they’ve been using light-hitting middle infielders Eduardo Escobar and Eduardo Nunez at DH.

Twins place Oswaldo Arcia on DL, call up prospect Eddie Rosario

Oswaldo Arcia
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Twins left fielder Oswaldo Arcia is headed to the disabled list with a hip injury and to replace him on the roster they’ve called up 23-year-old outfield prospect Eddie Rosario from Triple-A.

Not so long ago Rosario was viewed as a very good prospect, frequently making top-100 lists, but he was suspended for the first 50 games of last season following a positive drug test and has struggled since returning.

Last season he hit just .237 with eight homers and a 68/17 K/BB ratio in 79 games at Double-A on the way to a .672 OPS. He’s been almost exactly as bad this season at Triple-A, hitting .242 with three homers, a 17/5 K/BB ratio, and a .659 OPS in 23 games. He also hit .233 with a 9/0 K/BB ratio in 17 spring training games, yet the Twins touted his performance throughout camp in what was apparently foreshadowing for this move.

Aaron Hicks, a former top prospect playing much better than Rosario in the same Triple-A outfield, was bypassed for the call-up. It’s also tough timing for Arcia, who’d been playing better of late and was hitting .276 with two homers and a .718 OPS in 19 games overall this season at age 24.