Oswaldo Arcia was not great last year in 98 games spread across AAA and the majors. After hitting 20 HR in 103 games in 2014, Arcia was a popular pick in 2015 and was a major disappointment. That disappointment stings and owners are likely to remember that more than the potential big time HR threat we saw in 2014 which means there might be a buying opportunity.
Arcia is just 24 years old and will turn 25 in May. There is reason to believe that he has not yet reached his peak and that last year was the result of some growing pains. For as bad as his overall stat line looked, he actually posted a 23.1 K rate (in 65 PA) in the majors and a 26.4 K rate (in 311 PA) in AAA which were both significantly better than his MLB career number of 30.4%. Strikeouts were always the big hole in Arcia’s game and maybe last year was a sign that he is improving.
Power has always been Arcia’s calling card and how his power developed was always going to determine just how valuable of a fantasy asset he could be. His HR/FB was 19.4% in 2014 which was probably a big inflated given that his ranked 68th in the majors in fly ball distance. However, last year’s 11.1% (small sample of 65 PA) seems like a crazy over correction. I would expect his HR/FB to fit somewhere close to his 2013 season in which he posted a 14.7% rate. Over a full season, that would get him close to 25 HR. The big question now is can he get enough PAs to reach that number?
Unfortunately, the easy answer is no. The Twins seem to be full steam ahead on the Miguel Sano in LF trial and Byung-ho Park is likely to DH which is honestly where Arcia is best suited given his poor defense. I don’t know enough about Park to say one way or the other, but if he struggles it could open the door for Arcia to step in as the DH. The very real possibility is that Arcia is a left handed platoon bat in either RF or potentially at DH. That does limit his upside but he has been quite fantastic against LHP in his career posting a 121 wRC+ (compared to a 69 wRC+ against RHP). Park is a RHB so that might give Arcia the opportunity to be the left sided component at DH. The other option is in RF where Eddie Rosario is slated to start. Rosario had a decent year in 2015 but actually showed a reverse split. As a LHB he dropped a 117 wRC+ against LHP and a 91 wRC+ against RHP. There seems to be some opportunity for Arcia there but Rosario is a great fielder which likely hurts Arcia’s chances at being a true platoon mate in RF. If Arcia can crack the 25 man (not set in stone), he should be able to get enough PA to put up some numbers. However, his ceiling is likely lower than it was 12 months ago as it will take some injuries for him to get full time PAs.
I think 2013 Arcia is a good projection for 2015 Arcia. In 2013 he hit 14 HR, 34 R, 43 RBI, 1 SB, a .251 AVG and a .304 OBP. I think we can expect that for a baseline with upside across the board. Steamer projects Arcia for 11 HR, 29 R, 34 RBI, 1 SB, a .253 AVG and a .312 OBP. That’s a very reasonable projection but it likely leaves Arcia undraftable unless he cracks the starting nine. I’ll project Arcia for 20 HR, 55 R, 65 RBI, 1 SB, a .261 AVG and a .320 OBP. I think he becomes the lefty DH platoon mate and logs enough time in RF (or potentially LF if the Sano experiment goes belly up) to crack 20 HR.