On Tuesday night the San Diego Padres suffered a 7-3 loss to the Braves in the series opener in Atlanta. There was one player responsible for those three Padre runs. Who was that player? His name is Oswaldo Arcia. He went two for three with a hustle-double, a moonshot dinger and an RBI ground out. Not only that, but he made a pretty sweet catch in right field to rob a base hit from Braves’ top prospect Dansby Swanson in the seventh inning.
Rewind a few days back to Sunday. I’m casually watching the series finale against the Marlins when I spot an unfamiliar face in the Padres dugout. The name on his jersey says Arcia. I hadn’t heard the news that the team had acquired him on Saturday afternoon and was surprised to see him on the bench. He went one for four on Sunday in his debut. Not terrible, but with the influx of new faces on the team seemingly trying out for 2017, I didn’t find myself thinking too heavily on his addition to the roster. Then he had that noteworthy performance on Tuesday and I started thinking.
So who is Oswaldo Arcia? He’s a 25-year-old outfielder who bats from the left side and throws from the right. He was signed by the Twins as an amateur free agent out of Venezuela in 2007. He’s a former top prospect and Twins Minor League Hitter of the Year. In 2013-14 he slashed .241/.302/.441 with 34 home runs across 200 games with the Twins. 20 of those homers came in 2014. He also had 57 RBI that year. So far so good. Then in 2015 after only 19 games with the Twins he was demoted to Triple-A Rochester for the remainder of the season.
In 2016, Arcia began the season on the Twins big league roster but on June 26 was designated for assignment to create room for Danny Santana. On June 24, he was traded by the Twins to the Rays for a player to be named later. He played 21 games for the Rays and then was surprisingly designated for assignment on August 19.
On August 23, he was claimed by the Marlins off of waivers and was granted a spot on their major league roster. Then they acquired Jeff Francoeur and once again, he was designated for assignment. So here we are. On Saturday August 27, Oswaldo Arcia was claimed off of waivers by the Padres. He’s currently out of minor league options and must be kept on the 25-man roster.
Now I’m wondering, what can Arcia bring to his new club? Well for one thing he does well against righties. In 715 career plate appearances he’s slashed .244/.316/.467 with 36 home runs against right handed pitching as of August 25. He’s a power threat and has profiled as such through out his career. He does strike out a lot though. About 30% of the time. There’s a downside. Maybe he’ll stop doing his Chris Carter impression and learn some plate discipline here in San Diego. He also doesn’t factor as a great fielder but has seemed to hold his own out there with the Padres in his first few appearances.
Today is Wednesday and as I sit here writing this piece, enjoying game two of the series against the Braves (the old-fashioned way via radio), I am alerted to ANOTHER homer from Arcia. That’s two dingers in two days. This one was hit off of our old pal Matt Wisler in the fourth inning. It seems to me like Arcia may just be a power threat indeed. Sure, it’s a small sample size for us Friar faithful, but I tend a be a willful optimist when it comes to the potential in the system. Looking at the Padres outfield of the future, it seems that they have some healthy competition coming up through the ranks.
Check out the young outfielders with power profiles that are waiting in the wings. There’s Alex Dickerson, Jabari Blash, Hunter Renfroe, Manuel Margot and now Arcia and that’s not even everybody. If you ask me, this depth of potential power is a great thing. It makes the trades of Kemp and others seem like specks in our rear view mirror. The Padres are becoming a home run hitting team and maybe guys like Arcia will help them keep that identity moving forward. If not him, there are other hungry guys waiting for their chances, willing to compete for a spot on the team against a guy like Arcia who has been through the ringer this season. I’m positive that Oswaldo Arcia wants to prove himself and he’s off to a good start. He better keep it up though, because soon the clock will strike midnight and it will be Margot and Renfroe time.