With all of the focus centering around the Minnesota Twins’ center field battle and getting glimpses of the Twins young and highly touted pitching prospects, Oswaldo Arcia has faded to the background in terms of storylines this spring. Arcia is one of the Twins’ top prospects and was slated to compete for a chance to come north this spring with the big league club if he proved he was ready. Unfortunately for Arcia and the Twins, he was hurt before a game was even played this spring training when he suffered an intercostal strain which are muscles that run between the ribs.
Arcia’s chances of making the big league team out of spring training were a longshot to begin with, but the Twins were looking forward to watching him play to see if he was close to being big league ready. If he were to impress in spring training, Arcia could be in line for an early season promotion to the big leagues after he returned to Triple-A and saved up additional years of arbitration service time. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out as planned for Arcia, but he will make his spring debut today by batting fifth in the lineup as the Twins take on the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Arcia has a chance to be a very good corner outfielder and offensive hitter for the Twins this season and beyond as he has hit successfully at every stop he has been at during his minor league career. In his five years in the minors, Arcia has hit .314 with 53 HR and 260 RBI in 374 career games. Last season—which was spent in high Single-A and Double-A ball—Arcia hit .320 with 17 HR and 98 RBI in 124 games.
His ability to hit effectively will undoubtedly get him call to the majors sooner rather than later. If the Twins were to trade Josh Willingham or Justin Morneau at any point this season, Arcia would likely be a top candidate—if not the top candidate—to receive a promotion to the majors and inherit the playing time vacated by either of the departing players. Even if the Twins’ stand pat and do not trade either player, it may be interesting to see if the Twins’ promote Arcia and use him in right field while moving Chris Parmelee to first base or designated hitter.
Arcia has been compared to Jason Kubel and is seen—by many—as Kubel 2.0. If that would be the career trajectory of Arcia, the Twins should be—and would be—thrilled. Kubel was a very productive hitter over his career with the Twins and gave the team another power bat in the middle of their lineup to protect Joe Mauer and Morneau. Arcia—along with Aaron Hicks and soon thereafter Byron Buxton—could form quite an outfield for the next wave of Twins talent. I also wouldn’t be surprised if Arcia even receives a lot of time as a designated hitter, much like what the Twins eventually did with Kubel.
Sometimes the best things are the ones you have to wait longest for. The Twins and their fans are patiently awaiting the next wave of prospects that are going to bring them back to contention. This season, fans will be able to see Hicks debut and play in center and I wouldn’t’ be surprised if they also get to see Arcia receive a lot of playing time as well. Arcia may not join the club until the middle or later part of the 2013 season, but the fact that the Twins—and their fans—are able to see Arcia in the majors this year at all is cause for optimism as the organization readies themselves for a promising future.