After a spring training full of disappointment, Minnesota Twins’ outfield prospect Oswaldo Arcia is headed back to Triple-A Rochester following his demotion on Saturday. Arcia is one of the team’s top outfield prospects and was expected to compete for a roster spot. However, Arcia suffered a rib muscle strain that sidelined him for nearly a month this spring. This limited Arcia’s ability to have a full spring training of workouts and essentially, may have cost him his chance at making the big league club to start the season.
When Arcia did recover from his injury, he collected three hits in 16 at-bats, including one double, a walk and eight strikeouts. These are not the type of numbers that the Twins have seen out of Arcia as he has risen through the minor leagues. That is why the team believes he may need more time to work on his swing, plate discipline and health as he continues to regain his form prior to the injury.
At age 21, Arcia still has a long and prosperous career ahead of him regardless of his performance this spring. Arcia owns a career .314 batting average with 53 HR and 260 RBI over 374 career games in the Twins’ minor league system. Arcia has often been compared to former Twins’ slugger Jason Kubel based on their comparative skill set and similar defensive position. Kubel was a fast riser to the majors, but also had some setbacks along the way. Arcia’s career trajectory seems to be no different.
The next wave of Twins’ talent is not expected to fully be in the majors until the 2015 season at the earliest, so there is still a lot of time left for Arcia to figure everything out. It is important that Arcia gets his health in order so these injuries do not limit his long-term value to the franchise. The organization has demonstrated that they are willing to take every necessary precaution to protect the health of their young assets. A recent example of this can be seen in the recent demotion of one of the Twins’ top pitching prospects, Kyle Gibson.
These reasons, among others, are why Arcia should not rush himself back from injury or in his preparation to get promoted to the majors. The organization still has faith in the youngster and it would not be problematic for Arcia to receive extra time in the minors to hone his skills. I would rather see Arcia get promoted to the majors and stay here for good, compared to Arcia getting promoted and then sent back down, due to poor performance, soon thereafter. The team seems to be in no rush to compete, so Arcia must take this demotion in stride and use it as an additional learning opportunity. Arcia’s time will come, but the time isn’t now.