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April 15, 2013
The Situation: As outfielder Wilkin Ramirez heads to New York for the birth of his second child, the Twins will call up 21-year-old Venezuelan Oswaldo Arcia to take his place. Ranked fourth in the Twins’ farm system, Arcia has gotten off to a blazing start by hitting .414/.500/.793 in his first nine Triple-A games. Ramirez is expected to be away from the team for three days, giving Arcia a brief window to make an impression and start to lay claim to a position that will likely be his long term.
Background: Signed as an international free agent in 2007, Arcia has raked throughout his professional career. After two solid seasons in the rookie-level Dominican Summer and Gulf Coast Leagues, Arcia exploded onto the scene with an MVP performance in the Appalachian League in 2010, backboned by a massive .375/.424/.672 triple-slash line. The Twins started him in Low-A in 2011, and while he missed time with an elbow injury, his performance forced the organization to promote him to High-A before the conclusion of the season. Back in High-A to start the 2012 season, Arcia hit .309 with 26 extra-base hits in just 55 games, forcing another promotion. Once in Double-A, Arcia turned his offensive output up a notch with a .328/.398/.557 line in 69 games.
Scouting Report: Every scouting report of Arcia starts and nearly ends with the bat. He has the potential to be a plus overall offensive player highlighted by power that could max out with 30-plus doubles and 20 home runs. His projected power utility is very good because of his naturally electric bat speed and feel for hitting. Arcia can make contact on a variety of pitches in all parts of the strike zone, allowing him to project as a .280-.290 hitter. His approach has taken steps forward over the last two years, as his ability to recognize spin has improved and he has learned not to chase pitches out of the strike zone. Arcia is physically mature with a thicker lower half and below-average speed. He is athletic enough to fit in right field despite the lack of speed and has the above-average arm to fulfill the classic profile.
Immediate Big-League Future: As of now, the Twins are insisting that Arcia’s call-up will be brief and intended merely to accommodate Ramirez’s temporary absence. Though Arcia may receive only limited action during his initial three day trial, if he hits right out of the gate, the Twins could begin revising that plan. It won’t happen immediately, but Arcia could figure into Minnesota’s right-field plans later this spring if their production from that position does not improve. —Mark Anderson
Fantasy Impact: If the Twins are truly promoting Arcia only because Ramirez is off on paternity leave, it's using a sledgehammer that gets more expensive with every use to kill a fly. If it's not true, then Arcia will be given a shot to take the right-field job from Chris Parmelee. Or, if the Twins are feeling especially reactionary and short-sighted, they could put Arcia in center field and send down Aaron Hicks. The point is, if Arcia is up and hits, he can stick.
The long and short of Arcia's minor-league career is that he has just hit at practically every stop. And while left-handed power hitters and Target Field may not make for the best love connection, the fact that Arcia can hit with reasonable authority to all fields makes that less of an issue than it would be for a dead-pull hitter. If he can accumulate 500 at bats over the course of the 2013 season, Arcia can hit .270+ with 15 home runs and a small handful of steals, though his upside for the future is higher.
Right now, Arcia is a worthy grab in AL-only leagues just out of speculation that he might stick for longer than three or four days. But at the first sign of him sticking around longer than that, he becomes someone to to own in 16-plus team mixed leagues and someone to watch in shallower formats. There is a non-zero chance that Arcia just keeps hitting and eventually becomes viable in even 10-team mixed leagues. —Bret Sayre
Mark Anderson is an author of Baseball Prospectus. Follow @ProspectMark