All season long, Twins fans have been clamoring for the team to promote Miguel Sano. It’s easy to see why; despite a recent slump that has dropped his batting average to the .240s, Sano has launched long home runs on a regular basis. He’s a true hitting phenom and the Twins’ most exciting prospect who currently leads the Midwest League with 14 longballs.
But there might be another young slugger who is more deserving of a promotion. Fort Myers outfielder Oswaldo Arcia has punished High A pitching for the first third of the season. Sano is still regarded as the highest-ceilinged prospect the Twins have, but Arcia may be the closest to starring in the Majors.
Heading into Sunday, Arcia has a flashy .325/.385/.545 line. That slugging percentage is second best in the Florida State League, as is his .929 OPS. He also has seven home runs in a league notorious for its large pitcher-friendly parks. Though he started slow, Arcia more than made up for it with an amazing month of May, in which he hit .358. So far his June performance is topping that; Arcia has a .467/.600/1.000 line and a pair of homers in five games. He has even improved his plate discipline, walking 19 times so far this year after drawing only 18 all of last year and 19 the year before.
Signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2007, Arcia is a 21 year old left-handed hitting right fielder with plenty of power potential. He has been high on the radar of Twins prospects since 2010 when he stormed through the Appalachian League. He hit .375 that year with 14 homers. The next year he proved it wasn’t a fluke by mashing at Beloit for a month before missing a few months with an elbow injury. After the injury the Twins decided a month at Low A was enough, and they promoted him to Fort Myers, where he held his own. This season, he has done far more than that.
If you judge by his hitting stats alone, it seems obvious that Arcia is ready to audition for the next level. A-ball pitching is certainly not much of a challenge for him at this point. Of course, baseball GMs do not make such decisions on hitting stats alone, and for good reason. From the stats alone, it’s impossible to tell much about how mature a prospect is at the plate, or whether he can hit breaking pitches with the same authority he pummels fastballs. And it’s also important for his defensive abilities to be up to par before he gets to the high minors, though for a pure hitter like Arcia who does not play a critical position on the diamond, defense is probably not the primary concern.
With that said, I would not be surprised if Arcia got a ticket to New Britain sometime this summer. Young though he is, Arcia has a multiyear track record of hitting for contact and power, and he has proven the ability to thrive after quick promotions. It might be time to challenge him again.