There are two things that pop into my mind when talking about Oswaldo Arcia. First, that power potential is oh so sweet, and second, how great was Waldo Geraldo Faldo in Family Matters? There aren’t enough Waldo’s in this world. Of course, you guys only care about that first thought as his power could be a legit fantasy asset in 2014.
Arcia came into the 2013 season ranked as the fourth-best prospect in the Twins system and through numerous call ups to the majors he amassed 378 PA where he managed 14 HR, .179 ISO, and .430 SLG. Those numbers aren’t eye-opening, but if you consider that he posted perennial .200+ ISOs in the minors there’s definitely potential for him to grow into something special.
If we take a look a bit deeper into his power numbers you’ll see why:
Avg. FB Dist.*
Avg. HR Dist.**
*Rank is out of 300 hitters, data provided by BaseballHeatMaps.com; **Rank is out of 70 hitters with at least 20 HR, data provided by HitTrackerOnline.com; ***Rank is out of 140 qualified hitters, data provided by FanGraphs.com
While Arcia didn’t have enough PA to qualify him to be on any of these lists, you can see that if we plotted his numbers he would have placed fairly well in the fly ball numbers, but when it came to home runs he wasn’t great. So at 22 years old and in his rookie season, Arcia was one of the better flyball hitters, but struggled to get them over the fence? I’m ok with that.
Now, while Arcia’s power could be due for a nice bump in 2014 there are two factors working against him. His home park and his approach at the plate. Let’s dive into his home park first.
LHB HR Park Factor
Small sample sizes aside (208 PA at home and 170 PA away), Arcia’s HR/FB splits are rather large and it’s no surprise why when you look at the fact that Target Field is a very below-average park for left-handed hitters. Of course, that can be negated by the fact that the AL Central has some nice parks in terms of homer potential; Progressive Field, Comerica Park, and U.S. Cellular Field all have park factors of 100 or higher.
The second factor working against Arcia is his poor plate discipline. He has a high propensity to swing and miss and pairs that with a below-average walk rate. That’s not the recipe for success in the majors and it’s something he will have to correct in his future years. Here’s where his plate discipline stats would have ranked if he had enough PA to qualify.
All ranks are out of 140 qualified hitters; * O-Swing% = Swings on pitches outside the strike zone; **SwStr% = % of swings that are misses.
You can immediately see that Arcia takes a lot of hacks at the plate — usually at pitches that aren’t in the strike zone — which contributes to his high strikeout and whiff rates. The potential with Arcia is there, but he’s definitely in the raw-power, unpolished-approach category.
At A Glance
Neutral: RBI, SLG, OPS, BB, 2B, 3B
Weaknesses: R, SB, BA, OBP, K
Player With Similar Fantasy Value
2014 Fantasy Baseball Projection
2014 Projection: 599 PA, .260 BA, 63 R, 25 HR, 78 RBI, 4 SB
Overall Rank: 164 | OF Rank: 57
He’s the perfect lottery ticket as his price for 2014 is still fairly low and if you hit on him you can cash in for years to come.
If you’re drafting Arcia this year you should be doing so, expecting one thing and one thing only: power. He’s not going to light up the stat sheet with his BA, R, and SB totals. I just don’t see him improving his plate discipline so drastically that it affects his low contact rates. He’s always posted great BABIP rates in the minors and continued that trend him his rookie year (.336 BABIP).
He’s clearly shown that when he puts the bat on the ball he give it a ride, but if he stays in the Chris Carter range of contact rates it’s going to hurt him. Any improvements in his plate discipline will help him hit for more power and if he can get a little more luck in his HR/FB rates you should be getting a solid season from someone who may only cost you an 18th-20th round selection. We have him projected at 25 HR and 78 RBI, but I wouldn’t be totally shocked if he surpasses those numbers given a full-time role in 2014.
2015 & Beyond
The league is being inundated with low batting average hitters and Arcia is exactly that, but where he can separate himself from the pack is his power potential. With some improvements I could see his batting average rising up to the .270-range and if he realizes his full power potential he can be a perennial high-20, low-30 HR hitter. He’s the perfect lottery ticket as his price for 2014 is still fairly low and if you hit on him you can cash in for years to come.